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The problem

You know that the C compiler – or more precisely the preprocessor – predefines certain constants, but you won't find a complete list of these definitions anywhere.

The solution

Compile an empty program file, and abort the compilation after the preprocessor. This is done with the following command:

user@linux> gcc -E -dM -x c <(true)
#define __DBL_MIN_EXP__ (-1021)
#define __FLT_MIN__ 1.17549435e-38F
#define __CHAR_BIT__ 8
#define __WCHAR_MAX__ 2147483647
#define __DBL_DENORM_MIN__ 4.9406564584124654e-324
#define __FLT_EVAL_METHOD__ 2
#define __DBL_MIN_10_EXP__ (-307)
#define __FINITE_MATH_ONLY__ 0
#define __GNUC_PATCHLEVEL__ 2
#define __SHRT_MAX__ 32767
#define __LDBL_MAX__ 1.18973149535723176502e+4932L
#define __UINTMAX_TYPE__ long long unsigned int
#define __linux 1
#define __unix 1
#define __LDBL_MAX_EXP__ 16384
#define __linux__ 1
#define __SCHAR_MAX__ 127
#define __USER_LABEL_PREFIX__ 
#define __STDC_HOSTED__ 1
#define __LDBL_HAS_INFINITY__ 1
#define __DBL_DIG__ 15
#define __FLT_EPSILON__ 1.19209290e-7F
#define __LDBL_MIN__ 3.36210314311209350626e-4932L
#define __unix__ 1
#define __DECIMAL_DIG__ 21
#define __gnu_linux__ 1
#define __LDBL_HAS_QUIET_NAN__ 1
#define __GNUC__ 4
#define __tune_i586__ 1
#define __DBL_MAX__ 1.7976931348623157e+308
#define __DBL_HAS_INFINITY__ 1
#define __DBL_MAX_EXP__ 1024
#define __LONG_LONG_MAX__ 9223372036854775807LL
#define __GXX_ABI_VERSION 1002
#define __FLT_MIN_EXP__ (-125)
#define __DBL_MIN__ 2.2250738585072014e-308
#define __DBL_HAS_QUIET_NAN__ 1
#define __REGISTER_PREFIX__ 
#define __NO_INLINE__ 1
#define __i386 1
#define __FLT_MANT_DIG__ 24
#define __VERSION__ "4.0.2 20050901 (prerelease) (SUSE Linux)"
#define i386 1
#define unix 1
#define __i386__ 1
#define __SIZE_TYPE__ unsigned int
#define __ELF__ 1
#define __FLT_RADIX__ 2
#define __LDBL_EPSILON__ 1.08420217248550443401e-19L
#define __FLT_HAS_QUIET_NAN__ 1
#define __FLT_MAX_10_EXP__ 38
#define __LONG_MAX__ 2147483647L
#define __FLT_HAS_INFINITY__ 1
#define linux 1
#define __tune_pentium__ 1
#define __LDBL_MANT_DIG__ 64
#define __WCHAR_TYPE__ long int
#define __FLT_DIG__ 6
#define __INT_MAX__ 2147483647
#define __FLT_MAX_EXP__ 128
#define __DBL_MANT_DIG__ 53
#define __WINT_TYPE__ unsigned int
#define __LDBL_MIN_EXP__ (-16381)
#define __LDBL_MAX_10_EXP__ 4932
#define __DBL_EPSILON__ 2.2204460492503131e-16
#define __INTMAX_MAX__ 9223372036854775807LL
#define __FLT_DENORM_MIN__ 1.40129846e-45F
#define __FLT_MAX__ 3.40282347e+38F
#define __FLT_MIN_10_EXP__ (-37)
#define __INTMAX_TYPE__ long long int
#define __GNUC_MINOR__ 0
#define __DBL_MAX_10_EXP__ 308
#define __LDBL_DENORM_MIN__ 3.64519953188247460253e-4951L
#define __PTRDIFF_TYPE__ int
#define __LDBL_MIN_10_EXP__ (-4931)
#define __LDBL_DIG__ 18

The actual result depends, of course, on various factors. The constants are not always defined in the same way, because their purpose is to reflect differences in the environment. Among other variables, they include the following:

  • The compiler version
  • The processor architecture
  •  The operating system
  •  The compiler’s call options

Linux knowledge

These articles were written by the founder of Checkmk many years ago.
They are still valid though and thus we keep them on our website.
Mathias has since then developed a monitoring software called Checkmk

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