Staticcheck 2019.1 Release Notes

Big restructuring

At the core of the 2019.1 release lies the grand restructuring of all of the staticcheck tools. All of the individual checkers, as well as megacheck, have been merged into a single tool, which is simply called staticcheck. From this point forward, staticcheck will be the static analyzer for Go code. It will cover all of the existing categories of checks – bugs, simplifications, performance – as well as future categories, such as the new style checks.

This change makes a series of simplifications possible. Per-tool command line flags in megacheck have been replaced with unified flags (-checks and -fail) that operate on arbitrary subsets of checks. Consumers of the JSON output no longer need to know about different checker names and can instead rely solely on user-controllable severities. And not to be neglected: gone is the silly name of megacheck.

This change will require some changes to your pipelines. Even though the gosimple, unused, and megacheck tools still exist, they have been deprecated and will be removed in the next release of staticcheck. Additionally, megacheck's -<tool>.exit-non-zero flags have been rendered inoperable. Instead, you will have to use the -fail flag. Furthermore,, -fail defaults to all, meaning all checks will cause non-zero exiting. Previous versions of megacheck had different defaults for different checkers, trying to guess the user's intention. Instead of guessing, staticcheck expects you to provide the correct flags.

Since all of the tools have been merged into staticcheck, it will no longer run just one group of checks. This may lead to additional problems being reported. To restore the old behavior, you can use the new -checks flag. -checks "SA*" will run the same set of checks that the old staticcheck tool did. The same flag should be used in place of megacheck's – now deprecated – -<tool>.enabled flags.

Details on all of the command-line flags can be found in the documentation.

Configuration files

Staticcheck 2019.1 adds support for per-project configuration files. With these it will be possible to standardize and codify linter settings, the set of enabled checks, and more. Please see the documentation page on configuration for all the details!

Build system integration

Beginning with this release, staticcheck calls out to the tools of the underlying build system (go for most people) to determine the list of Go files to process. This change should not affect most people. It does, however, have some implications: the system that staticcheck runs on needs access to a full Go toolchain – just the source code of the standard library no longer suffices. Furthermore, setting GOROOT to use a different Go installation no longer works as expected. Instead, PATH has to be modified so that go resolves to the desired Go command.

This change has been necessary to support Go modules. Additionally, it will allow us to support alternative build systems such as Bazel in the future.

Handling of broken packages

We have redesigned the way staticcheck handles broken packages. Previously, if you ran staticcheck ... and any package wouldn't compile, staticcheck would refuse to check any packages whatsoever. Now, it will skip broken packages, as well as any of their dependents, and check only the remaining packages. Any build errors that are encountered will be reported as problems.


New checks

Staticcheck 2019.1 adds a new category of checks, ST1. ST1 contains checks for common style violations – poor variable naming, incorrectly formatted comments and the like. It brings the good parts of golint to staticcheck, and adds some checks of its own.

In addition, some other checks have been added.

S1032 recommends replacing sort.Sort(sort.StringSlice(...)) with sort.Strings(...); similarly for other types that have helpers for sorting.

SA9004 flags groups of constants where only the first one is given an explicit type.

SA1025 checks for incorrect uses of (*time.Timer).Reset.

Changed checks

Several checks have been tweaked, either making them more accurate or finding more issues.

S1002 no longer applies to code in tests. While if aBool == true is usually an anti-pattern, it can feel more natural in unit tests, as it mirrors the if got != want pattern.

S1005 now flags for x, _ := range because of the unnecessary blank assignment.

S1007 no longer suggests using raw strings for regular expressions containing backquotes.

S1016 now considers the targeted Go version. It will no longer suggest type conversions between struct types with different field tags unless Go 1.8 or later is being targeted.

SA1000 now checks arguments passed to the regexp.Match class of functions.

SA1014 now checks arguments passed to (*encoding/xml.Decoder).DecodeElement.

SA6002 now realizes that unsafe.Pointer is a pointer.

U1000 has fewer false positives in the presence of embedding.

Removed checks

S1013 has been removed, no longer suggesting replacing if err != nil { return err }; return nil with return err. This check has been the source of contention and more often than not, it reduced the consistency of the surrounding code.

Deprecation notices

This release deprecates various features of staticcheck. These features will be removed in the next release.

As already explained earlier, the unused, gosimple, and megacheck tools have been replaced by staticcheck. Similarly, the flags -<tool>.enabled and -<tool>.exit-non-zero have been replaced by -checks and -fail. Finally, the -ignore flag has been replaced by linter directives.

Binary releases

Beginning with this release, we're publishing prebuilt binaries to GitHub. These releases still require a functioning Go installation in order to operate, however.

Other changes

We've removed the -min_confidence flag. This flag hasn't been doing anything for years.

A new formatter called Stylish (usable with -f stylish) provides output that is designed for easier consumption by humans.

Due to the restructuring of checkers, the checker field in JSON output has been replaced with the severity field.

Staticcheck 2019.1.1 Release Notes

The 2019.1.1 release of Staticcheck is the first bug fix release, fixing several bugs and improving performance.


  • The ST category of checks no longer flag style issues of aliased types when the aliased type exists in a package we aren't explicitly checking. This avoids crashes and erratic error reports.
  • Compiler errors now have correct position information.
  • A crash in the Stylish reporter has been fixed.
  • We no longer flag unused objects that belong to cgo internals.
  • The U1000 check has been optimized, reducing its memory usage and runtime.