“use” of invalid pointer value not defined
Section [basic.stc.dynamic.deallocation]
Martin von Loewis

Created on 2001-09-20.00:00:00 last changed 90 months ago


Date: 2013-04-15.00:00:00

[Moved to DR at the April, 2013 meeting.]

Date: 2012-02-15.00:00:00

Proposed resolution (February, 2012):

This issue is resolved by the resolution of issue 616.

Date: 2020-12-15.00:00:00 [basic.stc.dynamic.deallocation] paragraph 4 mentions that the effect of using an invalid pointer value is undefined. However, the standard never says what it means to 'use' a value.

There are a number of possible interpretations, but it appears that each of them leads to undesired conclusions:

  1. A value is 'used' in a program if a variable holding this value appears in an expression that is evaluated. This interpretation would render the sequence
       int *x = new int(0);
       delete x;
       x = 0;
    into undefined behaviour. As this is a common idiom, this is clearly undesirable.
  2. A value is 'used' if an expression evaluates to that value. This would render the sequence
       int *x = new int(0);
       delete x;
    into undefined behaviour; according to _N4778_. [expr.pseudo], the variable x is 'evaluated' as part of evaluating the pseudo destructor call. This, in turn, would mean that all containers (Clause 22 [containers]) of pointers show undefined behaviour, e.g. [list.modifiers] requires to invoke the destructor as part of the clear() method of the container.

If any other meaning was intended for 'using an expression', that meaning should be stated explicitly.

(See also issue 623.)

Date User Action Args
2014-03-03 00:00:00adminsetstatus: drwp -> cd3
2013-10-14 00:00:00adminsetstatus: dr -> drwp
2013-05-03 00:00:00adminsetmessages: + msg4372
2013-05-03 00:00:00adminsetstatus: ready -> dr
2012-02-27 00:00:00adminsetstatus: review -> ready
2011-09-06 00:00:00adminsetmessages: + msg3498
2011-09-06 00:00:00adminsetstatus: open -> review
2001-09-20 00:00:00admincreate