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Pure virtual handler

Here is a little trick that saved my life a few month back when I was dealing with a virtual pure function been called.

In a program I wrote, I had a very very rare bug where the code would crash in a completely improbable way. I finally figured out that it was due to abort() beeing called, and that was crashing the all other threads in random place. Now, where did that call come from was the big question. With one lucky crash dump, I was able to find that it was due to a virtual pure call, obviously due to a boggus cast.

By default, it seems that the virtual pure handler in gcc just call abort, making it hard to debug. The trick I used to find the actual bug was to override the default virtual pure handler:

extern "C" {

static int __cxa_pure_virtual() __attribute__((noinline, used));
static int __cxa_pure_virtual()
    return 0;


That way, every time a virtual pure function will be called, it will assert instead of simply aborting, giving way more useful information about what's happening.