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ethan (3163)

  reversethis-{ed. ... rap.nov.olissat}

Being a 25-year old chap living in the western-most town of Germany. Stuying communication and information science and being a huge fan of XS-related things.

Journal of ethan (3163)

Saturday August 16, 2003
04:42 AM

to memleak or not to memleak

[ #14155 ]

The following code should actually need more or less constant memory, right?

                my $str = "a";
                for (0 .. $i) {
                        $str->nextI; # string autoincrement: "z" becomes "aa"
                        print $str;

But no, it doesn't. Depending on $i, it may eat well over 30meg. So naturally I suspected a memore-leak in my code and asked valgrind about it.

valgrind only finds 128 non-freed bytes, but those aren't by me but are allocated somewhere in the perl-interpreter. In my code, I naturally return a mortal SV and deallocate all my memory tidily. Very strange really.

Another thing I became aware of might be a problem with Perl's default typemaps.

        char *
        func ()
                        char *string;
                        string = func_that_returns_allocated_string();
                        RETVAL = string;

The 'char*' typemap copies the string pointed to by RETVAL into an SV and returns it. The thing is the copying. Since it is copied, I need to free the original string somehow, but I don't see how this is possible. Initially I used a lot of these default typemaps to return values and in fact valgrind reported small leaks for each of them. Perhaps I have to use the 'CLEANUP' directive for that.

Now I changed it to:

        func ()
                        char *string;
                        string = func_that_returns_allocated_string();
                        XPUSHs(sv_2mortal(newSVpvn(string, strlen(string))));

Anyway, this made the leaks go away (according to valgrind), so I guess I am on the right track here.

This didn't fix my problem with next and nextI though. :-(

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  • Rather than copying the malloc()ed string into an SV and then free()ing it, check out sv_usepvn which can directly take over the buffer. Sorry, I don't know the XS-fu to create a typemap to make your wrapper use this automatically.

    Maybe that useful function should be re-named sv_borg to make it stand out more.

    • [sv_usepvn]

      Nice! I was looking for something like that. In fact, I always blindly assumed that the 'char *' typemap would only copy the pointer and not the whole vector (till I realized that it does exactly that yesterday).

      I think this can be turned into a typemap easily. AFAIK, there is no default typemap for 'const char*' so I can use that.

      Maybe that useful function should be re-named sv_borg to make it stand out more.
      :-) Guess what: the curious Poison() macro did immediately spring into my