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digitalmars.D - Changes to the Tango runtime / GC

reply Sean Kelly <sean f4.ca> writes:
All the recent talk about the GC inspired me to make some changes that 
I'd been planning for Tango.  I wanted to post about them here to make 
sure everyone was aware of them because they are silent changes that 
could affect the reliability of a program in certain rare circumstances. 
  Previously, the Tango runtime worked just like the Phobos runtime in 
that the hasPointers flag was set or cleared on array operations based 
on the type of the variable referencing the underlying memory.  For example:

byte[] b = cast(byte[]) new void[5]; // hasPointers is set
byte[] c = b[1 .. $];

b.length = 10; // hasPointers is retained because no realloc occurs
b.length = 20; // hasPointers is lost/cleared because of a realloc

c.length = 1;  // hasPointers is lost/cleared--slices always realloc
c.length = 20; // hasPointers is lost/cleared for same reason as above

The opposite was also true:

void[] v = new byte[5]; // hasPointers is not set
void[] w = v[1 .. $];

v.length = 10; // hasPointers is still 0 because no realloc occurs
v.length = 20; // hasPointers is set because of a realloc

w.length = 1;  // hasPointers is set because slices always realloc
w.length = 20; // hasPointers is set for same reason as above

The new behavior of Tango is to preserve block attributes for any 
allocated block whose size is simply changing as the result of an array 
operation.  *** This is true of both slices and normal arrays. ***  For 
example:

byte[] b = cast(byte[]) new void[5]; // hasPointers is set
byte[] c = b[1 .. $];

b.length = 10; // hasPointers is retained because no realloc occurs
b.length = 20; // hasPointers is retained because of new logic

c.length = 1;  // hasPointers is retained because of new logic
c.length = 20; // hasPointers is retained because of new logic

The same behavior is true of void references to byte arrays.  Here is a 
quick run-down of more complex cases:

byte[] b = cast(byte[]) new void[5];

b ~= 0;          // hasPointers is preserved on realloc
b ~= [0,1,2];    // hasPointers is preserved on realloc
b = [0,1] ~ [2]; // hasPointers is not retained - A

b = null;
b.length = 10;   // hasPointers is lost because reference was cleared

In situation A above, hasPointers is not retained because the operation 
is an assignment rather than a resize.

I believe these changes will result in more predictable behavior than 
before.  However, they can cause a change in program behavior in rare cases:

void[] getBlock()
{
     return new byte[32];
}

With the old behavior, manipulating the block returned by getBlock in a 
way that caused a reallocation to occur would result in hasPointers 
being set on that block.  With the new behavior, hasPointers would not 
be set because the runtime would be preserving the bits set on the 
original block, which was allocated as a byte[].  Thus it's possible in 
certain degenerate cases that the bits set on a memory block could 
silently propagate and "poison" an application in instances where they 
were discarded before.


Sean
Oct 13 2007
next sibling parent reply Robert Fraser <fraserofthenight gmail.com> writes:
Sean Kelly Wrote:

 All the recent talk about the GC inspired me to make some changes that 
 I'd been planning for Tango.  I wanted to post about them here to make 
 sure everyone was aware of them because they are silent changes that 
 could affect the reliability of a program in certain rare circumstances. 
   Previously, the Tango runtime worked just like the Phobos runtime in 
 that the hasPointers flag was set or cleared on array operations based 
 on the type of the variable referencing the underlying memory.  For example:
 
 byte[] b = cast(byte[]) new void[5]; // hasPointers is set
 byte[] c = b[1 .. $];
 
 b.length = 10; // hasPointers is retained because no realloc occurs
 b.length = 20; // hasPointers is lost/cleared because of a realloc
 
 c.length = 1;  // hasPointers is lost/cleared--slices always realloc
 c.length = 20; // hasPointers is lost/cleared for same reason as above
 
 The opposite was also true:
 
 void[] v = new byte[5]; // hasPointers is not set
 void[] w = v[1 .. $];
 
 v.length = 10; // hasPointers is still 0 because no realloc occurs
 v.length = 20; // hasPointers is set because of a realloc
 
 w.length = 1;  // hasPointers is set because slices always realloc
 w.length = 20; // hasPointers is set for same reason as above
 
 The new behavior of Tango is to preserve block attributes for any 
 allocated block whose size is simply changing as the result of an array 
 operation.  *** This is true of both slices and normal arrays. ***  For 
 example:
 
 byte[] b = cast(byte[]) new void[5]; // hasPointers is set
 byte[] c = b[1 .. $];
 
 b.length = 10; // hasPointers is retained because no realloc occurs
 b.length = 20; // hasPointers is retained because of new logic
 
 c.length = 1;  // hasPointers is retained because of new logic
 c.length = 20; // hasPointers is retained because of new logic
 
 The same behavior is true of void references to byte arrays.  Here is a 
 quick run-down of more complex cases:
 
 byte[] b = cast(byte[]) new void[5];
 
 b ~= 0;          // hasPointers is preserved on realloc
 b ~= [0,1,2];    // hasPointers is preserved on realloc
 b = [0,1] ~ [2]; // hasPointers is not retained - A
 
 b = null;
 b.length = 10;   // hasPointers is lost because reference was cleared
 
 In situation A above, hasPointers is not retained because the operation 
 is an assignment rather than a resize.
 
 I believe these changes will result in more predictable behavior than 
 before.  However, they can cause a change in program behavior in rare cases:
 
 void[] getBlock()
 {
      return new byte[32];
 }
 
 With the old behavior, manipulating the block returned by getBlock in a 
 way that caused a reallocation to occur would result in hasPointers 
 being set on that block.  With the new behavior, hasPointers would not 
 be set because the runtime would be preserving the bits set on the 
 original block, which was allocated as a byte[].  Thus it's possible in 
 certain degenerate cases that the bits set on a memory block could 
 silently propagate and "poison" an application in instances where they 
 were discarded before.
 
 
 Sean

So, wait, under this new regime, there will be *more* chances of random data causing memory leaks?
Oct 13 2007
next sibling parent 0ffh <spam frankhirsch.net> writes:
Robert Fraser wrote:
 So, wait, under this new regime, there will be *more* chances of random data
causing memory leaks?

My /guess/ is: Neither reliably more nor less, just different... :) Regards, Frank
Oct 13 2007
prev sibling parent Sean Kelly <sean f4.ca> writes:
Robert Fraser wrote:
 
 So, wait, under this new regime, there will be *more* chances of random data
causing memory leaks?

No, fewer, because the behavior of the hasPointers attribute will be more predictable. Sean
Oct 13 2007
prev sibling next sibling parent David Brown <dlang davidb.org> writes:
On Sat, Oct 13, 2007 at 08:38:54AM -0700, Sean Kelly wrote:

 The new behavior of Tango is to preserve block attributes for any allocated 
 block whose size is simply changing as the result of an array operation.  
 *** This is true of both slices and normal arrays. ***  For example:

As I understand, this will means that GrowBuffer's won't suddently start having pointers after the first resize operation. I think this behavior is a good thing. The attribute should be an aspect of the data, not the particular things that are pointing to it. David
Oct 13 2007
prev sibling parent reply Bruno Medeiros <brunodomedeiros+spam com.gmail> writes:
Sean Kelly wrote:
 
 byte[] b = cast(byte[]) new void[5]; // hasPointers is set
 byte[] c = b[1 .. $];
 
 b.length = 10; // hasPointers is retained because no realloc occurs
 b.length = 20; // hasPointers is retained because of new logic
 
 c.length = 1;  // hasPointers is retained because of new logic
 c.length = 20; // hasPointers is retained because of new logic
 

So, is there a way to allocate an uninitialized byte[] that has hasPointer set to false? -- Bruno Medeiros - MSc in CS/E student http://www.prowiki.org/wiki4d/wiki.cgi?BrunoMedeiros#D
Oct 14 2007
parent reply 0ffh <spam frankhirsch.net> writes:
Bruno Medeiros wrote:
 So, is there a way to allocate an uninitialized byte[] that has 
 hasPointer set to false?

I'd say byte[] defaults to hasPointers=false, so you wouldn't have to do anything special to make it so. (It is the void[] that usually has hasPtrs=true.) But, you can init byte[] with hasPtrs=true with: byte[] x=cast(byte[])(new void[0x100); Or you can init a void[] with hasPtrs=false with: void[] x=cast(void[])(new byte[0x100); The difference in the new Tango RT is it makes hasPtrs "sticky". All these details were in: news://news.digitalmars.com:119/feqoqc$30ji$1 digitalmars.com Regards, Frank
Oct 14 2007
parent reply Bruno Medeiros <brunodomedeiros+spam com.gmail> writes:
0ffh wrote:
 Bruno Medeiros wrote:
 So, is there a way to allocate an uninitialized byte[] that has 
 hasPointer set to false?

I'd say byte[] defaults to hasPointers=false, so you wouldn't have to do anything special to make it so. (It is the void[] that usually has hasPtrs=true.)

Agh nevermind, I thought the purpose of allocating void[] was to allocate an uninitialized array, but that's what the void initializer does instead. void[] is the same as byte[] but with hasPointers=true then? I couldn't find about that in the doc. -- Bruno Medeiros - MSc in CS/E student http://www.prowiki.org/wiki4d/wiki.cgi?BrunoMedeiros#D
Oct 15 2007
parent Sean Kelly <sean f4.ca> writes:
Bruno Medeiros wrote:
 0ffh wrote:
 Bruno Medeiros wrote:
 So, is there a way to allocate an uninitialized byte[] that has 
 hasPointer set to false?

I'd say byte[] defaults to hasPointers=false, so you wouldn't have to do anything special to make it so. (It is the void[] that usually has hasPtrs=true.)

Agh nevermind, I thought the purpose of allocating void[] was to allocate an uninitialized array, but that's what the void initializer does instead. void[] is the same as byte[] but with hasPointers=true then? I couldn't find about that in the doc.

I don't think it is in the docs, but it is in the 1.0x changelog somewhere. The only other difference is that, like void*, void[] can accept some other types of data without a cast. As far as I know, there is no way to allocate an uninitialized dynamic array using 'new' though. I don't imagine this works? byte[] x = new byte[8] = void; This is one reason that Tango offers access to GC.malloc and GC.calloc routines as a means to directly allocate either uninitialized or zero-initialized memory. Sean
Oct 15 2007