Structure alignment changes when a constructor or destructor is added

Marc Glisse
Tue Dec 6 23:22:00 GMT 2011

On Tue, 6 Dec 2011, Jonathan Wakely wrote:

> On 6 December 2011 20:59, Bruce Fraser wrote:
>> The following code was compiled with g++ 4.1.2 and again with g++
>> 4.6.2 on 64-bit Linux (more details at the end).  Note that S1 and S3
>> have identical data members.  S1 has a constructor defined, S3 does
>> not.  S2 inherits from S1 and S4 inherits from S2.  The size and
>> layout SHOULD be the same, but it is not as you can see from the
>> output.
> For C++98 / C++03 there are no guarantees about class layout except
> for POD types, and the presence of base classes and user-defined
> constructors prevents your types being PODs.
> C++11 provides the more fine-grained concept of a standard-layout
> struct, but even then I don't think there's any guarantee your S2 and
> S4 will have the same layout.

But g++ doesn't use a random layout, it (mostly) follows:
so it makes sense to look at whether the layouts should be the same.

It seems to define the layout differently depending on whether a type is 
POD (in the C++03 sense).

In particular, I note: "the C++ standard requires that compilers not 
overlay the tail padding in a POD", but the ABI doesn't seem to impose any 
such restriction on non-PODs.

It does look peculiar that this incites you to artificially make your 
types non-POD for a more compact layout...

Marc Glisse

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