[PATCH] Add configure flag for operator new (std::nothrow)

Jonathan Wakely jwakely.gcc@gmail.com
Wed Nov 4 06:15:00 GMT 2015

On 4 November 2015 at 01:55, Martin Sebor wrote:
> On 11/03/2015 05:35 AM, Aurelio Remonda wrote:
>> Currently, whenever operator new (std::nothrow) fails to allocate memory,
>> it'll
>> check if there is a new-handler function available. If there is, it'll
>> call
>> the handler and then try to allocate again. Otherwise, it'll return a null
>> pointer.
>> This retrying behavior may not always be desirable. If the handler cannot
>> fix
>> the memory allocation issue, we may end up being stuck in an infinite
>> loop.
>> Whereas returning nullptr may be a valid alternative to keep calling the
>> new_handler.
>> The workaround to end the loop, we would have to call
>> std::set_new_handler(nullptr)
>> from within the handler itself, which gets complicated if the handler has
>> to be
>> re-setted afterwards.
>> This patch adds the new_nothrow_no_retry configuration flag, which, if
>> enabled,
>> will change the retrying behavior of operator new (std::nothrow) so that
>> it only calls
>> the handler once when it fails to allocate memory and the return nullptr.
> The purpose of the loop is to give the new handler an opportunity
> to free up enough memory to let the allocation succeed. Since the
> handler doesn't get passed the size of the request it has no easy
> way of determining how much memory to free. The loop lets it free
> up increasingly more memory. If it can't free up any memory it is
> expected/required to either indicate failure by throwing bad_alloc
> or terminate the process. It's not allowed to return otherwise.
> Besides violating the requirement of the C++ standard, replacing
> the loop with an if statement would disable that aspect of the
> feature for the whole system (or for all processes that link with
> the libstdc++ that was configured this way). It would effectively
> be imposing a system-wide policy without providing a mechanism
> for correctly written programs to opt out. In addition, as
> a configuration option, it could not be easily tested. I would
> therefore advise against making such a change.

I share your concerns, but I'm also sympathetic to the changes that
the Taller Technologies team are trying to make, to allow libstdc++ to
be more useful in exception-free systems.

At the very least the patch to doc/xml/manual/configure.xml must
document that this option enables behaviour that violates the standard
and so produces a non-conforming implementation. It should probably
also explain how to use the resulting implementation, so that users on
embedded systems who might want to enable this know how to write a
suitable new-handler.

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