EH in C (was: Re: (lack of) Thread-safe exceptions on AIX (gcc-2.95.1)

Bill Tutt
Tue Feb 1 12:47:00 GMT 2000

On Tue, 1 Feb 2000, Zack Weinberg wrote:

> On Tue, Feb 01, 2000 at 02:05:59AM -0800, Bill Tutt wrote:
> > 
> > The annoying thing is that C based try/catch handlers need some kind of
> > information about the exception that occurred if they want to do any
> > useful processing. So if the C based try/catch handlers can't catch
> > asynchrnous exceptions (segv, divdie by zero, etc) and information about
> > C++ based exceptions is kind of useless is there any reason we need
> > try/catch for C at all? i.e. can we get away with just a try/finally pair?
> > This avoids the GetExceptionCode() problem altogether, but leaves
> > AbnormalTermination(), but that seems like a fairly simple gcc builtin to
> > code up.
> The usual reason people want exceptions in C is to make pthread
> cancellation play nice with C++.  The pthread library has 'cleanups'
> that happen when a thread is cancelled, that are basically
> try/finally, but they don't interoperate with the C++ exception
> mechanism.  What you'd like is for pthread_cleanup_push/pop to be
> implemented in terms of try/catch, and pthread_cancel to throw an
> exception in the cancelled thread.
> That requires only try { } catch (...) { }, plus some way to throw
> an object (not just rethrow), in C.

I'm afraid I don't know anything about pthreads, although I do vaguely
recall people discussing the problem you mention. I'm just not sure I
follow why you think __try/__finally in C doesn't interoperate with the
C++ exception mechanism. Perhaps you could enlighten me more on the
details of the pthread problem?

A __finally block is simply the equivalent of a C++ destructor that needs
to get called when the exception handling mechanism is unwinding the stack
to the exception handler itself.

If you use try {} catch(...) {} you'll end up having code like this:

Which looks frightfully silly to me. If you're only talking about
synchrnous exception handling, I still don't see why C would need a
try/catch syntax since it doesn't have any useful understanding of the
exception state at all. 

On the other hand, if you just want to avoid deviating from a subset of
the C++ syntax then you will end up having code like the above. Which I
suppose is fine, just make sure you make that design decision explicit in
the docs.


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