Title
delete and user-written deallocation functions
Status
cd1
Section
6.7.5.5.3 [basic.stc.dynamic.deallocation]
Submitter
Ruslan Abdikeev

Created on 2002-04-01.00:00:00 last changed 161 months ago

Messages

Date: 2005-10-15.00:00:00

[Voted into WP at October 2005 meeting.]

Date: 2004-10-15.00:00:00

Proposed resolution (October, 2004):

  1. Change 7.6.2.9 [expr.delete] paragraph 2 as indicated:

    If the operand has a class type, the operand is converted to a pointer type by calling the above-mentioned conversion function, and the converted operand is used in place of the original operand for the remainder of this section. In either alternative, if the value of the operand of delete is the null pointer the operation has no effect may be a null pointer value. If it is not a null pointer value, in In the first alternative (delete object), the value of the operand of delete shall be a pointer to a non-array object or a pointer to a sub-object (6.7.2 [intro.object]) representing a base class of such an object (clause 11.7 [class.derived])...
  2. Change 7.6.2.9 [expr.delete] paragraph 4 as follows (note that the old wording reflects the changes proposed by issue 442:

    The cast-expression in a delete-expression shall be evaluated exactly once. If the delete-expression calls the implementation deallocation function (6.7.5.5.3 [basic.stc.dynamic.deallocation]), and if the value of the operand of the delete expression is not a null pointer, the deallocation function will deallocate the storage referenced by the pointer thus rendering the pointer invalid. [Note: the value of a pointer that refers to deallocated storage is indeterminate. —end note]

  3. Change 7.6.2.9 [expr.delete] paragraphs 6-7 as follows:

    The If the value of the operand of the delete-expression is not a null pointer value, the delete-expression will invoke the destructor (if any) for the object or the elements of the array being deleted. In the case of an array, the elements will be destroyed in order of decreasing address (that is, in reverse order of the completion of their constructor; see 11.9.3 [class.base.init]).

    The If the value of the operand of the delete-expression is not a null pointer value, the delete-expression will call a deallocation function (6.7.5.5.3 [basic.stc.dynamic.deallocation]). Otherwise, it is unspecified whether the deallocation function will be called. [Note: The deallocation function is called regardless of whether the destructor for the object or some element of the array throws an exception. —end note]

  4. Change 6.7.5.5.3 [basic.stc.dynamic.deallocation] paragraph 3 as indicated:

    The value of the first argument supplied to one of the a deallocation functions provided in the standard library may be a null pointer value; if so, and if the deallocation function is one supplied in the standard library, the call to the deallocation function has no effect. Otherwise, the value supplied to operator delete(void*) in the standard library shall be one of the values returned by a previous invocation of either operator new(std::size_t) or operator new(std::size_t, const std::nothrow_t&) in the standard library, and the value supplied to operator delete[](void*) in the standard library shall be one of the values returned by a previous invocation of either operator new[](std::size_t) or operator new[](std::size_t, const std::nothrow_t&) in the standard library.

[Note: this resolution also resolves issue 442.]

Date: 2002-10-15.00:00:00

Notes from October 2002 meeting:

We believe that study of 17.6.3.2 [new.delete.single] paragraphs 12 and 13, 17.6.3.3 [new.delete.array] paragraphs 11 and 12, and 6.7.5.5.3 [basic.stc.dynamic.deallocation] paragraph 3 shows that the system-provided operator delete functions must accept a null pointer and ignore it. Those sections also show that a user-written replacement for the system-provided operator delete functions must accept a null pointer. There is no requirement that such functions ignore a null pointer, which is okay -- perhaps the reason for replacing the system-provided functions is to do something special with null pointer values (e.g., log such calls and return).

We believe that the standard should not require an implementation to call a delete function with a null pointer, but it must allow that. For the system-provided delete functions or replacements thereof, the standard already makes it clear that the delete function must accept a null pointer. For class-specific delete functions, we believe the standard should require that such functions accept a null pointer, though it should not mandate what they do with null pointers.

7.6.2.9 [expr.delete] needs to be updated to say that it is unspecified whether or not the operator delete function is called with a null pointer, and 6.7.5.5.3 [basic.stc.dynamic.deallocation] needs to be updated to say that any deallocation function must accept a null pointer.

Date: 2007-09-09.00:00:00

Standard is clear on behaviour of default allocation/deallocation functions. However, it is surpisingly vague on requirements to the behaviour of user-defined deallocation function and an interaction between delete-expression and deallocation function. This caused a heated argument on fido7.su.c-cpp newsgroup.

Resume:

It is not clear if user-supplied deallocation function is called from delete-expr when the operand of delete-expr is the null pointer (7.6.2.9 [expr.delete]). If it is, standard does not specify what user-supplied deallocation function shall do with the null pointer operand (17.6.3 [new.delete]). Instead, Standard uses the term "has no effect", which meaning is too vague in context given (7.6.2.9 [expr.delete]).

Description:

Consider statements

   char* p= 0; //result of failed non-throwing ::new char[]
   ::delete[] p;
Argument passed to delete-expression is valid - it is the result of a call to the non-throwing version of ::new, which has been failed. 7.6.2.9 [expr.delete] paragraph 1 explicitly prohibit us to pass 0 without having the ::new failure.

Standard does NOT specify whether user-defined deallocation function should be called in this case, or not.

Specifically, standard says in 7.6.2.9 [expr.delete] paragraph 2:

...if the value of the operand of delete is the null pointer the operation has no effect.
Standard doesn't specify term "has no effect". It is not clear from this context, whether the called deallocation function is required to have no effect, or delete-expression shall not call the deallocation function.

Furthermore, in para 4 standard says on default deallocation function:

If the delete-expression calls the implementation deallocation function (6.7.5.5.3 [basic.stc.dynamic.deallocation]), if the operand of the delete expression is not the null pointer constant, ...
Why it is so specific on interaction of default deallocation function and delete-expr?

If "has no effect" is a requirement to the deallocation function, then it should be stated in 6.7.5.5.3 [basic.stc.dynamic.deallocation], or in 17.6.3.2 [new.delete.single] and 17.6.3.3 [new.delete.array], and it should be stated explicitly.

Furthermore, standard does NOT specify what actions shall be performed by user-supplied deallocation function if NULL is given (17.6.3.2 [new.delete.single] paragraph 12):

Required behaviour: accept a value of ptr that is null or that was returned by an earlier call to the default operator new(std::size_t) or operator new(std::size_t, const std::nothrow_t&).

The same corresponds to ::delete[] case.

Expected solution:

  1. Make it clear that delete-expr will not call deallocation function if null pointer is given (in 7.6.2.9 [expr.delete]).
  2. Specify what user deallocation function shall do when null is given (either in 6.7.5.5.3 [basic.stc.dynamic.deallocation], or in 17.6.3.2 [new.delete.single], and 17.6.3.3 [new.delete.array]).
History
Date User Action Args
2008-10-05 00:00:00adminsetstatus: wp -> cd1
2006-04-22 00:00:00adminsetstatus: dr -> wp
2005-10-22 00:00:00adminsetmessages: + msg1272
2005-10-22 00:00:00adminsetstatus: ready -> dr
2005-05-01 00:00:00adminsetstatus: review -> ready
2004-11-07 00:00:00adminsetmessages: + msg1051
2004-11-07 00:00:00adminsetstatus: drafting -> review
2002-11-08 00:00:00adminsetmessages: + msg747
2002-11-08 00:00:00adminsetstatus: open -> drafting
2002-04-01 00:00:00admincreate