[fpc-devel] Support needed in understanding some heap.inc related stuff

Nikolay Nikolov nickysn at users.sourceforge.net
Sun Sep 28 21:56:03 CEST 2014

On 09/28/2014 08:58 PM, Lag Programming wrote:
> @Nikolay
>    Thank you for your answer. :) Now that you've answered, can you 
> further respond to the following question: why is it needed to zero 
> fill the memory allocated that exceeds the requested value?
> a) "pointer:=allocmem(initialsize); 
> reallocmem(pointer,increasedsize);". I don't see the benefits of the 
> zero filled bytes that exceed the "initialsize" value at "pointer". 
> Once you "reallocmem" to increase size you don't expect to have the 
> additional space filled with zeros. This means that an attempt to 
> somehow optimize code because of initial more than enough zero filling 
> is something hard to believe in.
To be honest, I don't know. It's probably for some extra safety, e.g. to 
minimize the damage from the undefined behaviour of reading beyond the 
memory block you allocated or to be able to detect heap corruption if 
you overwrite these zeros.
> b) if your affirmation is right then for 
> "bytepointer:=allocmem(sizeof(byte));" we would zero fill at least 3 
> or 7 times the necessary amount. At the moment I don't see nothing 
> good at that. The closest thing that got into my mind was the arrays. 
> For an unknown reason to me, yet(somebody please enlighten me) dynamic 
> arrays are always zero filled. But even these arrays don't use 
> allocmem. It was something that got me curious. Instead of allocmem, 
> getmem&fillchar are used separately :) (see dynarr.inc 
> fpc_dynarray_setlength). Somebody saw the bottleneck(waste, whatever 
> you want to call it) with this allocmem situation.
>    So. Can you please further develop you answer according to this 
> message.

I seriously doubt it makes any difference on 32-bit and 64-bit 
architectures. AFAIK, on a modern CPU, it takes exactly the same amount 
of time to write 32-bits to a 32-bit aligned address as to write a 
single byte. But the extra call to MemSize probably does add some extra 
overhead, yes. As for why are dynarrays zero filled, I can only guess, 
but these things come to mind:

1) delphi compatibility
2) zero filling ensures that magic reference counted types like 
ansistrings, interfaces and other dynarrays are properly initialized. 
The same reason class instances are initialized with zeros before the 
constructor is called.

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