Dynlink with C stubs when the C external is not used by the library that defines it

I am trying to use Dynlink to load the coq-core.stm package at runtime:

let () =
  Findlib.init ();
  Dynlink.allow_unsafe_modules true;
  Fl_dynload.load_packages ~debug:true ["coq-core.stm"]

The code above succeeds in bytecode but fails in native code.

[DEBUG] Fl_dynload: loading "coqrun.cmxs"
[DEBUG] Fl_dynload: loading "kernel.cmxs"
Fatal error: exception Dynlink.Error (Dynlink.Cannot_open_dll "Dynlink.Error (Dynlink.Cannot_open_dll \"Failure(\\\"/home/tmartine/.opam/4.13/lib/coq-core/kernel/kernel.cmxs: undefined symbol: coq_int_tcode\\\")\")")

If I understand correctly, the problem is that the symbol coq_int_tcode is defined in the library coqrun, which does not contain any OCaml code: since there is no external definition referring to coq_int_tcode, the C library is not linked to coqrun.cmxs.

Here is a minimal example to reproduce this problem (one library c_lib which defines a symbol c_lib_hello, one library ocaml_lib which uses this symbol, and one executable test_dynlink which dynamically loads both: the execution succeeds in bytecode, but fails in native code):

mkdir test_dynlink
cd test_dynlink

cat >c_lib.c <<EOF
#include <caml/mlvalues.h>
#include <caml/memory.h>
#include <stdio.h>

  printf("Hello, world!\n");

cat >ocaml_lib.ml <<EOF
external c_lib_hello : unit -> unit = "c_lib_hello"

let () =
  c_lib_hello ()

cat >test_dynlink.ml <<EOF
let () =
  Dynlink.allow_unsafe_modules true;
  Dynlink.loadfile (Dynlink.adapt_filename "c_lib.cma");
  Dynlink.loadfile (Dynlink.adapt_filename "ocaml_lib.cma")

cat >dune <<EOF
 (name c_lib)
  (language c)
  (names c_lib)))

 (name ocaml_lib)
 (modules ocaml_lib))

  (name test_dynlink)
  (modules test_dynlink)
  (modes byte exe)
  (libraries dynlink))

echo "(lang dune 2.0)" >dune-project

dune build

cd _build/default

LD_LIBRARY_PATH=. ./test_dynlink.bc
# Output: Hello, world!

# undefined symbol: c_lib_hello

dune is not the culprit; we can exhibit the same behavior by compiling by hand:

ocamlc -c c_lib.c
ocamlmklib -o c_lib c_lib.o
ocamlc -a -dllib -lc_lib -o c_lib.cma
ocamlc -a ocaml_lib.ml -o ocaml_lib.cma
ocamlc dynlink.cma test_dynlink.ml -o test_dynlink.bc
LD_LIBRARY_PATH=. ./test_dynlink.bc
# Output: Hello, world!

ocamlopt -shared -cclib "-L. -lc_lib" -o c_lib.cmxs
ocamlopt -shared ocaml_lib.ml -o ocaml_lib.cmxs
ocamlopt dynlink.cmxa test_dynlink.ml -o test_dynlink.exe
# undefined symbol: c_lib_hello

One way to fix the problem is to force the linker to link with c_lib by using --whole-archive:

ocamlopt -shared -cclib "-Xlinker --whole-archive -L. -lc_lib -Xlinker --no-whole-archive" -o c_lib.cmxs
# Output: Hello, world!

But I don’t know how to ask dune to do that…

Is there a reason for using

ocamlopt -shared -cclib "-L. -lc_lib" -o c_lib.cmxs

instead of just

ocamlopt -shared c_lib.o -o c_lib.cmxs


What you propose is simpler and it works, thanks @silene ! Do you know how to ask dune to do that?

(I think that dune and I’s have the habit to use -cclib by some kind of symmetry with the bytecode compilation chain…)