To caps or not to caps that is the question?

Steve smorrey at
Tue Dec 18 04:14:58 MST 2007

Howdy folks,

I have a bit of C++ I wrote specifically to randomly generate fantasy
style names.
It all seems to work great until I try to run an optimizing pass on it.
Essentially the code works like this.
We have two lists of letters, one called consonants and the other is vowels.
About 2/3rds of the time we want to pick a vowel, the other 1/3rd
should be a consonant.
We want to try to avoid double consonants, but double vowels are ok,
and it's expected a few names are just simply going to end up being
Also if it's our first time picking a letter we want to capitalize it.

Now here's the rub, if I do not run -O2 or -O3 when I compile it, the
code works exactly as ordered.
However if I do run it through the optimizer the program doesn't
bother to capitalize!

Here are the relevant lines.
     for(; counter < length; counter++)
          coin = RandomNumber(0,100);
          letter = (letter == oldletter) ? ((coin <= 60) ?
PickChar(vowels) : PickChar(consonants)) : letter;
          letter = (counter == 0) ? toupper(letter) : letter;
          name += letter;
          oldletter = letter;

What I can't for the life of me figure out is why the optmizing phase
of the compiler would skip the line where it says to capitalize.
I need to see if there is a way to prevent this in the future since
simply skipping a step is not at all what I would expect my compiler
to do.

Any thoughts, ideas or suggestions?
Thanks in advance!


p.s. This was using GCC 4.1 haven't tried it on any others yet.

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