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SubjectRe: Why is the kfree() argument const?
On Thursday 17 January 2008 11:51:49 pm Giacomo Catenazzi wrote:
> Linus Torvalds wrote:
> > No, I'm saying that "const" has absolutely *zero* meaning on writes to an
> > object through _other_ pointers (or direct access) to the object.
> Hints: "restrict" is the C99 keyword for such requirement (or better
> "const restrict")

The restrict keyword controls aliasing, to be exact. And I'm skeptical that
inserting const there would do anything at all.

> BTW I think C use non const free as a BIG warning about not to be
> to "smart" on optimization.

I must ask what relationship you think the const keyword has to compiler
optimizations. I know of none, and I've yet to see that keyword cause any
difference in the resulting assembly. It forces you to make your code clean
and well-structured, but that's about it.

Of course, it would be an interesting experiment to potentially redefine the
const keyword to have stronger semantics, such as having the compiler assume
that a function taking a const pointer argument will not modify the memory
the pointer points to, and thus saving itself a memory load in the caller
after the function executes, as long as the data is not global. I imagine
that this would lead to some simple and measurable optimizations, all the
while (this is where I get into hand-waving territory) breaking a minimum
amount of code in current existence.

But that is emphatically not how C is currently defined, and you're basically
inventing an entirely new language... C2009 perhaps? :-)

-- Vadim Lobanov

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