RTOS on Wikipedia: https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Real-time_operating_system
To me, the K&R one seems much less readable and also doesn't include the global malloc lock, since even the updated edition of K&R predates standardised threading.
I note it also does the "bp = (Header *)ap - 1;" trick, so if that's undefined behaviour then it's a good example of how hard it is to write C without relying on UB.
Interesting things to consider: Fragmentation prevention, real-time performance, minimizing locking(lock-free techniques, or per-thread free lists), and reusing the freed memory to contain the free list structure. I basically started out whiteboarding what the article lays out and by the end of the interview realized everything wrong with it. It's a good starting point though.
You don't want a simple double-free to lead to an RCE bug, do you...
The article looks at lot like the tutorial I wrote a long time ago ... (Every now and then, I see my old PDF in post about implementing allocators, which is disturbing since I wrote it in a hurry as a quick support for a lecture and I found it very poorly written ... )
I think it's interesting to note that using sbrk(2) is a bit deprecated, it's way easier to implement malloc(3) using mmap(2) ...
There's also better ways to handle pointers arithmetic and list management. Someday I'll put only cleaner version only ... Someday ...
return free(ptr), NULL;
return free(ptr), malloc(0);
If the size of the space requested is zero, the behavior is implementation-defined: https://port70.net/~nsz/c/c11/n1570.html#7.22.3
My point was that in reality the behavior varies. "Undefined" in a common tongue sense, not in the terms of the C standard.
Either way, realloc's behaviour is well-defined when the pointer is null.
header = (struct header_t*)block - 1;
"A pointer to void may be converted to or from a pointer to any incomplete or object type."
The subtraction is defined by §184.108.40.206, provided that block points to an element of a large enough array object:
"When an expression that has integer type is added to or subtracted from a pointer, the result has the type of the pointer operand. If the pointer operand points to an element of an array object, and the array is large enough, the result points to an element offset from the original element such that the difference of the subscripts of the resulting and original array elements equals the integer expression."
(There's similar text in other versions of the C standard.)
Accessing the data that is being pointed at is another matter entirely. You must satisfy alignment constraints. You also must not read any memory as a type other than what it was written as, aside from a very limited exception for type char.
Looking at the full code on the web site, I think it is compliant but dangerous. It is decently likely to trigger gcc bugs.
The code also isn't undefined behavior... but you are really asking to hit compiler bugs! This is an easy way to confuse gcc into wrongly determining that the code has undefined behavior, and if gcc gets confused then it may determine that a code path can't be taken. Code paths that can't be taken may be deleted.
The main rule here is that memory has a type which is determined by what was last written into it, and you may only read or examine the memory using that type. (for the type, we ignore attributes like the distinction between signed and unsigned) There is a minor exception that is just enough to implement something like memcpy by using a (char⁎) to read and then write as a char. You still aren't supposed to look at that char. These rules apply to memory accessed via pointers, no matter how you cast them, and to memory accessed via union members.
Real compilers differ from that:
Every compiler I'm aware of will not enforce the rules for unions. The gcc compiler promises not to enforce the rules in this case.
Every compiler I'm aware of will let you look at any data that has been read as a char, so the memcpy trick works and you can do things like determine endianness at runtime.
It is legit to initialize a type X variable, take the address of it, cast it from (X⁎) to (Y⁎), pass it through arbitrary data structures and functions to hide the origin from the compiler, cast the (Y⁎) back to (X⁎), and then access the type X variable. If you do this, gcc may generate bad code.
Aside from that, the style used here is probably OK. It is hard to say what exactly would trigger the gcc bugs, but I'm pretty sure that a recent gcc would be OK for this code.
Violation of what exactly? Converting a pointer to an integer, and vice versa, is implementation defined. As long as you're not trying to write implementation-independent code, it's perfectly fine.
The C standard specifically states that a cast (T ) to and from (void ) is validly defined behavior and that you must get the original pointer back. It's also valid to go from (T ) to (U ) and back again if and only if T and U have the same alignment requirements. (void ) is required to have no alignment requirements because you can't directly de-reference it since the result would have type (void).
__attribute__((__packed__)) is a completely different topic about how the layout of the struct gets decided and what padding might be used.
What's going on here is that malloc() gives the caller a (void ) that points to one position past a (struct header_t ) and then free is casting it back from (void ) to (struct header_t ) and then going back one element in the set to get the original header with the meta-data about the allocation, this is perfectly fine because the pointer is never anything other than (void ) or (struct header_t ) as far as the language is concerned. The caller might turn the element after the (struct header_t ) into something else but the original (struct header_t *) is always the same.
You can use the stack in this case.
Isn't this exactly the issue with this malloc implementation? The pointer returned that points past the header by sizeof(header) may not be aligned for subsequent types.
⁎ e2 81 8e
So just recovering and using a pointer to that struct header_t from the block pointer in this way is fine.
I think he also forgot to implement memalign(3) and posix_memalign(3).
The simplest case is if you know that you will free everything at once, or nothing at all. This allows you to eliminate most bookkeeping and allows a completely lock-free architecture. But there are also more complex cases where you can still get big benefits from exploiting known invariants.
jemalloc allows you to query these invariants if you don't know them, and to use the information to re-configure the allocator to match them :/
I'm pretty sure most modern allocators allow you to do this as well.
> The simplest case is if you know that you will free everything at once, or nothing at all.
That's pretty much a one liner with jemalloc.
With real time requirements you often care about your response time or worst case execution time. In some areas of embedded, safety critical systems you're usually prohibited from using heap at all (instead, stuff is put in global variables or on the stack - so you're only growing in one direction).