GNU C Library 2.16 Brings Many Features (GLIBC)
Written by Michael Larabel in GNU on 30 June 2012 at 09:40 PM EDT. 21 Comments
Version 2.16 of glibc, the GNU C Library, was released on Saturday afternoon. This update to the de facto C library for GNU/Linux systems brings many new features. There's x32 and ISO C11 support along with performance optimizations.

Besides fixing more than 230 bugs, key features of glibc 2.16 include:

Support for the x32 ABI on x86_64. The Linux x32 ABI has been a long time coming, but all of the pieces to support this new Linux ABI are coming together. Simply put, the x32 implementation allows applications to be built to use 32-bit pointers while being able to take advantage of the rest of the x86_64 feature-set, so you get your applications having a smaller memory foot-print while being faster thanks to being able to take against of the rest of the 64-bit processor capabilities.

The Linux kernel has x32 support since earlier this year as of the Linux 3.4 kernel. GCC also has support for building x32 as a target and LLVM/Clang also has support. A released version of glibc supporting x32 is the last piece of the puzzle.

Glibc can be built for x32 by building the C library with BUILD_CC='gcc' CC='gcc -mx32' CXX='g++ -mx32'. When it comes to Linux distributions offering x32 support, Ubuntu has some far-out plans and on the Gentoo side they already have a stage three x32 candidate.

Greater support for ISO C11 has come to glibc 2.16.

Performance optimizations when it comes to generic and 64-bit performance optimizations to math functions. There's also optimized functions for PowerPC and SPARC architectures.

SystemTap static probes when configuring the glibc build with --enable-systemtap.

Some other minor items include removing support for anything but ELF binary format, improved support for cross-compilation, moving the IA-64 architecture to ports, and removed support for versions of the Linux kernel prior to Linux 2.6.

The full list of official changes plus source download links for the GNU C Library 2.16 is available from this mailing list message.

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Michael Larabel is the principal author of and founded the site in 2004 with a focus on enriching the Linux hardware experience. Michael has written more than 10,000 articles covering the state of Linux hardware support, Linux performance, graphics drivers, and other topics. Michael is also the lead developer of the Phoronix Test Suite, Phoromatic, and automated benchmarking software. He can be followed via Twitter or contacted via

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