Compatibility with non-GNU compilers

Fortunately, the __attribute__ mechanism was cleverly designed in a way to make it easy to quietly eliminate them if used on platforms other than GNU C. Superficially, __attribute__ appears to have multiple parameters (which would typically rule out using a macro), but the two sets of parentheses effectively make it a single parameter, and in practice this works very nicely.

/* If we're not using GNU C, elide __attribute__ */
#ifndef __GNUC__
#  define  __attribute__(x)  /*NOTHING*/

Note that __attribute__ applies to function declarations, not definitions, and we're not sure why this is. So when defining a function that merits this treatment, an extra declaration must be used (in the same file):

/* function declaration */
void die(const char *format, ...) __attribute__((noreturn))

void die(const char *format, ...)
	/* function definition */