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Re: Request for comments on language extension: Safe arrays and pointers for C.


My comments are:

* TL;DR.

* No specification given at the level of edits to C11.

* At a glance, no or inadequate explanation of why library solutions and 
appropriate coding practices (such as the use of managed string libraries) 
are inadequate.

* How does this compare to the array size checking you get with 
_FORTIFY_SOURCE in glibc (and associated GCC extensions)?

* How does this relate to various cases in the secure coding rules draft 
TS (a specification for static analyzers, but should still be relevant 
here if you can point to examples of bad code therein that would be 
detected reliably through use of your proposals)?

* Why hasn't this been done before - what is so novel that avoids the 
pitfalls encountered by previous related work?  An insightful analysis of 
such work and the issues - not necessarily technical - with it is needed 
to demonstrate there is a genuine difference here.

* Is this really in accordance with the Spirit of C?

* In general we're skeptical of new language extensions given the problems 
historically associated with past ones.  Assessing what pitfalls there 
might be in a proposal and the work required to implement it is itself a 
substantial amount of work (I'd guess several hours at least for this 
document); it's more likely to happen if there's something to excite 
people about the proposal (as well as if all the other issues I list are 
addressed), and I don't see anything particularly exciting here.  That's 
especially the case given how many previous attempts there have been at 
addressing this sort of issue.

* If proposals are written by people with substantial experience in C 
compiler implementation they are more likely to be sound - what such 
experience has gone into writing this document?

* Consider attending a WG14 meeting and presenting the proposals in person 
there (having had them included in a pre-meeting mailing), if you want a 
wider range of implementer opinions.

-- 
Joseph S. Myers
joseph@codesourcery.com


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