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MKSTR(1) General Commands Manual MKSTR(1)

mkstrcreate an error message file by massaging C source

mkstr [-] messagefile prefix file ...

mkstr creates files containing error messages extracted from C source, and restructures the same C source, to utilize the created error message file. The intent of mkstr was to reduce the size of large programs and reduce swapping (see BUGS section below).

mkstr processes each of the specified files, placing a restructured version of the input in a file whose name consists of the specified prefix and the original name. A typical usage of mkstr is

$ mkstr pistrings xx *.c

This command causes all the error messages from the C source files in the current directory to be placed in the file “pistrings” and restructured copies of the sources to be placed in files whose names are prefixed with “xx”.

The options are as follows:

Error messages are placed at the end of the specified messagefile for recompiling part of a large mkstred program.

mkstr finds error messages in the source by searching for the string `error("' in the input stream. Each time it occurs, the C string starting at the ‘"’ is stored in the message file followed by a null character and a newline character. The new source is restructured with lseek(2) pointers into the error message file for retrieval.

char efilname = "/usr/lib/pi_strings";
int efil = -1;

error(a1, a2, a3, a4)
	char buf[256];

	if (efil < 0) {
		efil = open(efilname, 0);
		if (efil < 0) {
			exit 1 ;
	if (lseek(efil, (long) a1, 0)  read(efil, buf, 256) <= 0)
		goto oops;
	printf(buf, a2, a3, a4);

xstr(1), lseek(2)

The mkstr utility first appeared in 1BSD.

Bill Joy and Chuck Haley, 1977.

mkstr was intended for the limited architecture of the PDP 11 family. Very few programs actually use it. The pascal interpreter, pi, and the editor, ex(1), are two programs that are built this way. It is not an efficient method; the error messages should be stored in the program text.

December 28, 2011 OpenBSD-5.5