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XSTR(1) General Commands Manual XSTR(1)

xstrextract strings from C programs to implement shared strings

xstr [-cv] [-l array] [-] [file ...]

xstr maintains a file strings into which strings in component parts of a large program are hashed. These strings are replaced with references to this common area. This serves to implement shared constant strings, most useful if they are also read-only.

The options are as follows:

Cause xstr to read from the standard input.
xstr will extract the strings from the C source file or the standard input (-), replacing string references by expressions of the form (&xstr[number]) for some number. An appropriate declaration of xstr is prepended to the file. The resulting C text is placed in the file x.c, to then be compiled. The strings from this file are placed in the strings database if they are not there already. Repeated strings and strings which are suffixes of existing strings do not cause changes to the database.
Specify the named array in program references to abstracted strings. The default array name is “xstr”.
Be verbose.

After all components of a large program have been compiled, a file xs.c declaring the common xstr space can be created by a command of the form:

$ xstr

The file xs.c should then be compiled and loaded with the rest of the program. If possible, the array can be made read-only (shared) saving space and swap overhead.

xstr can also be used on a single file. The following command creates files x.c and xs.c as before, without using or affecting any strings file in the same directory:

$ xstr name

It may be useful to run xstr after the C preprocessor if any macro definitions yield strings or if there is conditional code which contains strings which may not, in fact, be needed. An appropriate command sequence for running xstr after the C preprocessor is:

$ cc -E name.c | xstr -c -
$ cc -c x.c
$ mv x.o name.o

xstr does not touch the file strings unless new items are added, so that make(1) can avoid remaking xs.o unless truly necessary.

database of strings
massaged C source
C source for definition of array “xstr”
temporary file when “xstr name” doesn't touch strings


The xstr command appeared in 3.0BSD.

If a string is a suffix of another string in the database, but the shorter string is seen first by xstr both strings will be placed in the database, when just placing the longer one there will do.

August 14, 2013 OpenBSD-5.5