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Re: using offsetof with g++

Joe Buck <> writes:

| On Thu, Nov 06, 2003 at 10:09:23AM -0800, Doug Evans wrote:
| > version = 3.3.2, i386-linux
| > 
| > cp/typeck.c has this:
| > 
| >       /* Complain about other invalid uses of offsetof, even though they will
| > 	 give the right answer. ...
| ...
| > No doubt there's a language citation for why this exists,
| > but I wonder if you guys would be amenable to adding an option
| > to turn this check off.  Is there some expectation that "the right answer"
| > will no longer be possible some day?
| It seems to me that there are four categories:
| 1) Those cases where ISO C++ specifies what the answer is.
| 2) Those cases where any reasonable implementation (and all
|    implementations we know of) give the right answer, but ISO
|    C++ says "undefined".
| 3) Those cases where we know that g++ will give the right answer,
|    but we can't be sure of other possible implementations.
| 4) Those cases where use of offsetof() is nonsense, since the offset
|    is not even constant.
| Example of case 2: the object is a POD, but then we add one or more
| constructors to initialize the fields.  The normal offsetof() will
| Just Work (even if a language lawyer might point out that it's now
| legally allowed to implement the class in some strange new way).
| The simple single inheritance cases that you show are probably in case
| 2 (since I know of no implementation that doesn't lay out the derived
| classes in one chunk).
| Example of case 4: asking for the offset of a member of a virtual
| base class from a derived object, where we only have a pointer or
| reference to the derived object.  The offsetof macro will compute
| something, but using the result to access the member of a real object
| might crash.
| Some other folks might be able to come up with case 3 examples.

I don't know where you put my favorite example that involve

   int i;

   struct A {
     int& r;
     A() : r(i) { }

   int main()
     cout << offsetof(A, r) << endl;

| > While a warning in and of itself isn't fatal, consider -Werror.
| > Also consider a c++ application that does dynamic compilation.
| > Any suggestions for how to get the offsetof various fields
| > that I can use in the code generator?
| If we did permit disabling the warning, should we distinguish between the
| cases above?  One could argue that we're just being anal-retentive
| for warning about case 2 when the user didn't specify -pedantic.

We do already have a flag to silent the warning.

I'm sure Matt remembers that when having a dinner in Kona with Bjarne
and others, I brought this issue but could not give any convinving
arguments as answers to the following basic question

   Why do you want to take the offsetof a non-POD?

(I know Matt gave at least two reasons but I can't recall; I just
remember mine was not convincing enough).  The reason I brought up
that issue is that the C++ evolution working group has a suggestion to
allow arithmetic on pointer to members and generic pointer to members.
If those were allowed, the notion of offsetof for non-POD will
essentially become moot.

-- Gaby

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