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Build EAR

Bear is a tool to generate compilation database for clang tooling.

The JSON compilation database is used in clang project to provide information how a single compilation unit was processed. When that is available then it is easy to re-run the compilation with different programs.

One way to get compilation database is to use cmake as build tool. Passing -DCMAKE_EXPORT_COMPILE_COMMANDS=ON to cmake generates compile_commands.json file into the current directory.

When the project compiles with no cmake, but another build system, there is no free json file. Bear is a tool to generate such file during the build process.

The concept behind Bear is to exec the original build command and intercept the exec calls of the build tool. To achive that Bear uses the LD_PRELOAD or DYLD_INSERT_LIBRARIES mechanisms provided by the dynamic linker. So it has two components: the library and the binary. The library defines the exec methods and used in every child processes. The executable sets the environment up to child processes and writes the output file.

How to build

Bear should be quite portable on UNIX OSs, it has been tested on FreeBSD, Linux and OS X only.


  1. ANSI C compiler to compile the sources.
  2. cmake to configure the build process.
  3. pkg-config to find dependencies during configure step.
  4. make to run the build. Makefiles are generated by cmake.
  5. libconfig to parse the config file. (Version shall be greater than 1.4)

Build commands

It could be the best to build it in a separate build directory.

make all
make install # to install
make check   # to run tests
make package # to make packages

You can configure the build process with passing arguments to cmake.

How to use

After installation the usage is like this:

bear -- make

The -- separate the parameters from the build command. The output file called compile_commands.json found in current directory.

For more options you can check the man page or pass --help parameter.

Known issues

Compiler wrappers like ccache and distcc could cause duplicates or missing items in the compilation database. Make sure you have been disabled before you run Bear.

Problem reports

If you find a bug in this documentation or elsewhere in the program or would like to propose an improvement, please use the project's github issue tracker. Please describing the bug and where you found it. If you have a suggestion how to fix it, include that as well. Patches are also welcome.

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