ARCH(1) BSD General Commands Manual ARCH(1)
arch -- print architecture type or run selected architecture of a universal binary
arch [-32] [-64] [[-arch_name | -arch arch_name]...] [-c] [-d envname]... [-e envname=value]... [-h] prog [args ...]
The arch command with no arguments, displays the machine's architecture type.
The other use of the arch command it to run a selected architecture of a universal binary. A universal binary contains code that can run on
different architectures. By default, the operating system will select the architecture that most closely matches the processor type. This
means that an intel architecture is selected on intel processors and a powerpc architecture is selected on powerpc processors. A 64-bit
architecture is preferred over a 32-bit architecture on a 64-bit processor, while only 32-bit architectures can run on a 32-bit processor.
When the most natural architecture is unavailable, the operating system will try to pick another architecture. On 64-bit processors, a
32-bit architecture is tried. If this is also unavailable, the operating system on an intel processor will try running a 32-bit powerpc
architecture. Otherwise, no architecture is run, and an error results.
The arch command can be used to alter the operating system's normal selection order. The most common use is to select the 32-bit architec-
ture on a 64-bit processor, even if a 64-bit architecture is available.
The arch_name argument must be one of the currently supported architectures:
i386 32-bit intel
x86_64 64-bit intel
Either prefix the architecture with a hyphen, or (for compatibility with other commands), use -arch followed by the architecture.
If more than one architecture is specified, the operating system will try each one in order, skipping an architecture that is not supported
on the current processor, or is unavailable in the universal binary.
The other options are:
-32 Add the native 32-bit architecture to the list of architectures.
-64 Add the native 64-bit architecture to the list of architectures.
-c Clears the environment that will be passed to the command to be run.
-d envname Deletes the named environment variable from the environment that will be passed to the command to be run.
-e envname=value Assigns the given value to the named environment variable in the environment that will be passed to the command to be run.
Any existing environment variable with the same name will be replaced.
-h Prints a usage message and exits.
The prog argument is the command to run, followed by any arguments to pass to the command. It can be a full or partial path, while a lone
name will be looked up in the user's command search path.
If no architectures are specified on the command line, the arch command takes the basename of the prog argument and searches for the first
property list file with that basename and the .plist suffix, in the archSettings sub-directory in each of the standard domains, in the fol-
~/Library/archSettings User settings
/Library/archSettings Local settings
/Network/Library/archSettings Network settings
/System/Library/archSettings System settings
This property list contains the architecture order preferences, as well as the full path to the real executable. For examples of the prop-
erty list format, look at the files in /System/Library/archSettings.
On an intel processor:
% perl -MConfig -e 'printf "%s
shows the intel little endian byte order.
Making links to the arch command
When a link is made to arch command with a different name, that name is used to find the corresponding property list file. Thus, other com-
mands can be wrapped so that they have custom architecture selection order.
Because of some internal logic in the code, hard links to the arch command may not work quite right. It is best to avoid using hard links,
and only use symbolic links to the arch command.
The environment variable ARCHPREFERENCE can be used to provide architecture order preferences. It is checked before looking for the corre-
sponding property list file.
The value of the environment variable ARCHPREFERENCE is composed of one or more specifiers, separated by semicolons. A specifier is made up
of one, two or three fields, separated by colons. Architectures specified in order, are separated by commas and make up the last (mandatory)
field. The first field, if specified, is a name of a program, which selects this specifier if that name matches the program name in ques-
tion. If the name field is empty or there is no name field, the specifier matches any program name. Thus, ordering of specifiers is impor-
tant, and the one with no name should be last.
When the arch command is called directly, the prog name provides the path information to the executable (possibly via the command search
path). When a name is specified in a ARCHPREFERENCE specifier, the path information can alternately be specified as a second field following
the name. When the arch command is called indirectly via a link, this path information must be specified. If not specified as a second
field in a specifier, the executable path will be looked up in the corresponding property list file.
Example ARCHPREFERENCE Values
A specifier that matches any name.
A specifier that matches the program named foo (the full executable path is in the foo.plist file).
A specifier with all fields specified.
A specifier for baz and a second specifier that would match any other name.
Running the arch command on an interpreter script may not work if the interpreter is a link to the arch command, especially if a 64-bit
architecture is specified (since the arch command is 2-way universal, 32-bit only).
Mac OS X July 8, 2010 Mac OS X