We use clang-tidy to lint C++ code and aim to keep the repository warning-clean. The linter is configured in the root level .clang-tidy file. Developers should not create additional configuration files at a lower level, as this will cause disagreements in the tree.

How to lint

fx lint is a Fuchsia script that wraps language-specific linters in a common command line interface. It gathers a list of files, based on the options you specify, separates them by matching linter, and executes each required linter. clang-tidy is used for C and C++ files.

Without any other arguments, fx lint lints the files in your most recent git commit, and passes them through the linter:

fx lint

To restrict linting to C++, add a double-dash (--) followed by the file pattern(s) to match, such as:

fx lint -- '*.cc' '*.cpp'

To run a specific GN target through the linter, use:

fx lint --target=<target>

In order to lint all files under the current working directory, add --all. Running fx lint --all from the top-level fuchsia directory is generally not recommended, and will likely take several hours to complete. Be certain you cd to the best top level directory for your analysis requirements. For example:

(cd <your/subdir>; fx lint --all -- '*.cc')

You can also add --fix in order to automatically generate fixes for some (but not all) of the warnings.

Additional options and examples are documented in the tool itself. For the most up to date documentation on fx lint, including examples, run:

fx lint --help

Suppressing warnings

Any warning can be suppressed by adding a // NOLINT(<check_name>) or a // NOLINTNEXTLINE(<check_name>) comment to the offending line. It is also possible to disable the check entirely within the repository by editing the root level .clang-tidy file.


There are a number of check categories enabled, and specific checks within them have been disabled for the reasons below. The list of enabled check categories is as follows:

  • bugprone-*
  • clang-diagnostic-*
  • google-*
  • misc-*
  • modernize-
  • performance-*
  • readability-*

This list tracks the reasons for which we disabled in particular checks:

  • clang-diagnostic-unused-command-line-argument - ninja-generated compilation database contains the linker argument, which ends up unused and triggers this warning for every file
  • misc-noexcept* - Fuchsia doesn't use C++ exceptions
  • misc-non-private-member-variables-in-classes - We don't allow classes/structs with a mix of private and public members, but all public is fine.
  • modernize-deprecated-headers - Fuchsia uses old-style C headers
  • modernize-use-nodiscard - Not generally used in the Fuchsia codebase
  • modernize-raw-string-literal - the check was suggesting to convert \xFF literals, which we'd rather keep in the escaped form.
  • modernize-return-braced-init-list - concerns about readability of returning braced initialization list for constructor arguments, prefer to use a constructor explicitly
  • modernize-use-emplace - enabled the IgnoreImplicitConstructors option to comply with Abseil Tip of the Week #112.
  • modernize-use-equals-delete - flagging all gtest TEST_F
  • modernize-use-trailing-return-type - Fuchsia C++ code typically uses the int foo() style of defining functions, and not the auto foo() -> int style as recommended by this check.
  • readability-implicit-bool-conversion - Fuchsia C++ code commonly uses implicit bool cast of pointers and numbers
  • readability-isolate-declaration - Zircon code commonly uses paired declarations.
  • readability-uppercase-literal-suffix - Fuchsia C++ code chooses not to impose a style on this.

Static analysis

Strictly speaking it is not linting, but the Clang static analyzer can do deep analysis to find bugs. See Static analysis for details.