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Re: does gcc support multiple sizes, or not?

DJ Delorie wrote:

> At the moment, there are no language issues to resolve.

No, rather, at the moment there is a class of programs which are
accidentally accepted by the C++ front end and happen to do some of the
things that you want.  That is different from saying that the compiler
supports the feature that you want.

This is an undocumented extension.  Note that the documentation for the
mode attribute says: "This in effect lets you request an integer or
floating point type according to its width."  (It does not say pointer
type.)  It then goes on to say "and `pointer' or `__pointer__' for the
mode used to represent pointers".  The use of the definite article
indicates that there is in fact only one mode for pointers.

> The remaining problems aren't really "language issues".

I'm surprised that you believe this, in view of the concrete examples
I've given.  I'm not sure how to convince you that there's anything
non-trivial to do here, but there is.

So, unfortunately, I'm stuck: all I can do is tell you that the fact
that this current works at all in C++ is an accident, might go away at
any point, and probably violates various assumptions in the front end.

If you're willing to use integers, you'll have an easy time.  If you
want the more elegant language semantics of multiple pointer sizes,
you'll have to take the time to read through the C++ standard and think
about all the potential impact of the extension you're proposing.  Or,
you can decide to work on the middle end issues, try to get your patches
accepted, and then come back to the front end issues later.

I don't have any plans to aggressively go reject this code in the C++
front end, but I would vaguely like to clean up and specify how
attributes interact with C++ in more detail, and that might result in
problems for this usage.  (We really need to specify how attributes
interact with same-typed-ness, implicit conversions, etc.)

Mark Mitchell
(650) 331-3385 x713

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