assert, NDEBUG and you

Daniel Santos daniel.santos at
Sun Oct 25 20:28:11 CDT 2015

I had been going through life assuming that people who build software 
for release generally use some variant of -march=<something generic> -O2 
-DNDEBUG. Not only was I wrong, but Debian now considers NDEBUG "EBW 
<>" (which I've 
learned means "Evil Bad Wrong 
<>") and 
strips it even from cmake builds (which define it by default for release 
builds). From what I can tell, this is a common practice and it means 
that those asserts that I love to liberally saturate my sources with 
(even in hot spots) are bloating my code at release.

In light of this, I'm thinking that we may need a standard wine macro 
for asserts that we *really* only want when we're making changes and 
debugging and are activated by -DDEBUG or some such. Many of the asserts 
I use aren't something that I would ever expect to fail after 
development and testing is completed and shouldn't be in release, but 
can fail when me or somebody else makes a change or uses the function 
incorrectly. Hot code paths and inline functions are other examples of 
where such an assert would be useful when developing, but we would not 
want to pay for it in a release build.



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