"libc++" C++ Standard Library
libc++ is an implementation of the C++ standard library, targeting C++11, C++14 and above.
All of the code in libc++ is dual licensed under the MIT license and the UIUC License (a BSD-like license).
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Looking for documentation on how to use, build and test libc++? If so checkout the new libc++ documentation.
Features and Goals
- Correctness as defined by the C++11 standard.
- Fast execution.
- Minimal memory use.
- Fast compile times.
- ABI compatibility with gcc's libstdc++ for some low-level features such as exception objects, rtti and memory allocation.
- Extensive unit tests.
Why a new C++ Standard Library for C++11?
After its initial introduction, many people have asked "why start a new library instead of contributing to an existing library?" (like Apache's libstdcxx, GNU's libstdc++, STLport, etc). There are many contributing reasons, but some of the major ones are:
From years of experience (including having implemented the standard library before), we've learned many things about implementing the standard containers which require ABI breakage and fundamental changes to how they are implemented. For example, it is generally accepted that building std::string using the "short string optimization" instead of using Copy On Write (COW) is a superior approach for multicore machines (particularly in C++11, which has rvalue references). Breaking ABI compatibility with old versions of the library was determined to be critical to achieving the performance goals of libc++.
Mainline libstdc++ has switched to GPL3, a license which the developers of libc++ cannot use. libstdc++ 4.2 (the last GPL2 version) could be independently extended to support C++11, but this would be a fork of the codebase (which is often seen as worse for a project than starting a new independent one). Another problem with libstdc++ is that it is tightly integrated with G++ development, tending to be tied fairly closely to the matching version of G++.
STLport and the Apache libstdcxx library are two other popular candidates, but both lack C++11 support. Our experience (and the experience of libstdc++ developers) is that adding support for C++11 (in particular rvalue references and move-only types) requires changes to almost every class and function, essentially amounting to a rewrite. Faced with a rewrite, we decided to start from scratch and evaluate every design decision from first principles based on experience.
Further, both projects are apparently abandoned: STLport 5.2.1 was released in Oct'08, and STDCXX 4.2.1 in May'08.
libc++ is known to work on the following platforms, using g++ and clang. Note that functionality provided by <atomic> is only functional with clang.
- Mac OS X i386
- Mac OS X x86_64
- FreeBSD 10+ i386
- FreeBSD 10+ x86_64
- FreeBSD 10+ ARM
- Linux i386
- Linux x86_64
libc++ is a 100% complete C++11 implementation on Apple's OS X.
LLVM and Clang can self host in C++ and C++11 mode with libc++ on Linux.
libc++ is also a 100% complete C++14 implementation. A list of new features and changes for C++14 can be found here.
libc++'s C++17 implementation is not yet complete. A list of features and changes for C++17 can be found here.
A list of features and changes for the next C++ standard, known here as "C++2a" (probably to be C++20) can be found here.
Implementation of the post-C++14 Technical Specifications is in progress. A list of features and the current status of these features can be found here.
As features get moved from the Technical Specifications into the main standard, we will (after a period for migration) remove them from the TS implementation. This process is detailed here.
The latest libc++ build results can be found at the following locations.
Get it and get involved!
First please review our Developer's Policy. The documentation for building and using libc++ can be found below.
- Using libc++ Documentation on using the library in your programs
- Building libc++ Documentation on building the library using CMake
- Testing libc++ Documentation for developers wishing to test the library
Notes and Known Issues
Building libc++ with
-fno-rttiis not supported. However linking against it with
On OS X v10.8 and older the CMake option
-DLIBCXX_LIBCPPABI_VERSION=""must be used during configuration.
Send discussions to the libc++ mailing list.
Bug reports and patches
If you want to contribute a patch to libc++, the best place for that is Phabricator. Please add libcxx-commits as a subscriber.