WORDS_BIGENDIAN (was RE: [freetds] Running FreeTDS under VMS)

James K. Lowden jklowden at schemamania.org
Sun May 4 15:49:56 EDT 2003

On Sat, 3 May 2003 17:51:47 -0500, "Craig A. Berry" <craigberry at mac.com>
> At 3:03 PM -0400 5/1/03, Lowden, James K wrote:
> > >   what is the purpose of emul_little_endian ?
> >>   That should be only applicable to the client side, shouldn't?
> >>   Anyway, I had to leave it to 0 with this kind of code:
> >>
> >>         if (IS_TDS7_PLUS(tds)) {
> >> #ifndef VMS
> >>                 /* TDS 7/8 only supports little endian */
> >>                 tds->emul_little_endian = 1;
> >> #endif
> >>         }
> >> #endif
> >
> >See how WORDS_BIGENDIAN is defined and make sure it's 0 for VMS.  On
> >unixy systems, the configure script sets it based on system
> >interrogation.  It would be well to note this in the VMS readme. 
> WORDS_BIGENDIAN is currently hard-wired to undef on VMS in our config.h,
> so it's hard to see how the code above could have been visible to the
> compiler unless there is some other place it gets defined when found
> undefined.  Grepping the sources shows that in many cases #ifdef and
> #ifndef are used to check this macro, but in other cases #if is used. 
> #If we define it to 0, obviously only the latter cases will work as
> #expected.

Umph, obviously.  

I don't see how or why WORDS_BIGENDIAN would become defined outside
config.h.  I wouldn't want logic such as the above to become part of the
FreeTDS source code, though, because it's patently silly (afaik, there's
no big endian VMS platform).  I'd rather figure out what's going on.  

Your message did lead to small insight for me.  Oftentimes, #if and #ifdef
are functionally the same, and there's a mixture of usages in the FreeTDS
code.  We should rely on #if[n]def only to see if something is or needs to
be defined.  That is, #ifdef ... #endif should surround only preprocessor
logic, and #if ... #endif should surround C code.  

GNU[1] prefers "if" to "#if".  I don't know if that's really good practice
or not, but I agree that preprocessor code tends to obscure rather than


[1] http://www.gnu.org/prep/standards_11.html#SEC11

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