Object lifetime does not account for reference rebinding
6.7.3 [basic.life]

Created on 1998-10-27.00:00:00 last changed 228 months ago


Date: 2000-10-15.00:00:00

Proposed Resolution (10/00):

Add a new bullet to the list of restrictions in 6.7.3 [basic.life] paragraph 7, following the second bullet ("the new object is of the same type..."):

  • the type of the original object is not const-qualified, and, if a class type, does not contain any non-static data member whose type is const-qualified or a reference type, and
Date: 2003-04-25.00:00:00
From J16/98-0026 = WG21 N1169, "Proposed Defect Reports on ISO/IEC 14882, Programming Languages - C++":
A reference is rebindable. This is surprising and unnatural. This can also cause subtle optimizer bugs.


    struct T {
        int& ri;
        T (int& r) : ri (r) { }

    void bar (T*);

    void foo () {
        int i;
        T x (i);
        x.ri = 3;   // the optimizer understands that this is really i = 3
        bar (&x);
        x.ri = 4;   // optimizer assumes that this writes to i, but this is incorrect

    int gi;

    void bar (T* p) {
        p->~T ();
        new (p) T (gi);
If we replace T& with T* const in the example then undefined behavior result and the optimizer is correct.

Proposal: make T& equivalent to T* const by extending the scope of 6.7.3 [basic.life] paragraph 9 to references.

(See also J16/99-0005 = WG21 N1182, "Proposed Resolutions for Core Language Issues 6, 14, 20, 40, and 89")

In addition, Lisa Lippincott pointed out the following example:

    void f( const bool * );
    void g();

    int main() {
       const bool *b = new const bool( false );
       if (*b)

    void f( const bool *b ) {
       new ( const_cast<bool *>(b) ) const bool( true );

The proposed wording in the paper would still permit this usage and thus prevent an optimizer from eliminating the call to g().

Date User Action Args
2003-04-25 00:00:00adminsetstatus: dr -> tc1
2000-11-18 00:00:00adminsetmessages: + msg441
2000-11-18 00:00:00adminsetstatus: ready -> dr
2000-05-21 00:00:00adminsetstatus: drafting -> ready
1998-10-27 00:00:00admincreate