[ovs-dev] [PATCH 1/4] util: Disallow zero-sized xmalloc_cacheline

YAMAMOTO Takashi yamamoto at valinux.co.jp
Sun May 4 23:32:34 UTC 2014

> On Sat, May 03, 2014 at 09:01:01AM +0900, YAMAMOTO Takashi wrote:
>> xmalloc_cacheline API is relatively new.  It's better
>> not to inherit the kludge from xmalloc.  This kind of
>> kludge rather hurts these days.
>> Signed-off-by: YAMAMOTO Takashi <yamamoto at valinux.co.jp>
> I see basically three alternatives for xmalloc(0) and
> xmalloc_cacheline(0):
>         1. Assert-fail.
>         2. Return NULL.
>         3. Return a unique 1-byte block.
> I'm not a big fan of #1 because it can create corner cases where one
> must be extra careful, mainly when one is allocating a variable-length
> array that might occasionally have zero elements.
> #2 and #3 have about the same effect most of the time.  Since
> dereferencing the pointer returned by #3 yields undefined behavior
> according to the C standard, there isn't much of an advantage to #3 over
> #2.  The only practical difference is that occasionally a nonnull
> pointer indicates that some data structure has been initialized.
> I've always leaned toward #2, as a personal opinion, but I went with #3
> in Open vSwitch xmalloc() because of my GNU background, since GNU code
> has a bias toward malloc(0) acting like malloc(1).  (gnulib goes so far
> as to test for malloc(0) behavior and add a wrapper if it returns NULL.)
> So my preference is #2 or #3, leaning toward #3 since it's the behavior
> we've had in OVS for a long time.  To me, #1 seems risky: it makes a
> rare corner case definitely deadly.

thanks for explaining your reasoning.
i can understand it, although i still prefer failing loudly rather
than silently.
i will drop this patch for now as it seems at least controversial.


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