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SubjectRe: [PATCH][RESEND] do not redefine userspace's NULL #define
On Saturday 14 of April 2012, Linus Torvalds wrote:
> On Fri, Apr 13, 2012 at 4:18 PM, Lubos Lunak <> wrote:
> >> imagine replacing the kernel ((void *)0) with __null.
> >
> >  __null apparently exists only with g++, C does not have the stronger
> > type safety that prevents ((void*)0) from being usable in C++
> Please don't continue to spread this total bogosity.
> The reason C++ cannot use "(void *)0" has nothing to do with "stronger
> type safety". That's a total idiotic lie by C++ apologists, and I hate
> hearing it repeated over and over again.
> And it really *is* a lie. The C++ type system isn't even "stronger",

$ cat b.c
void foo()
int* a;
void* b;
char c;
a = b = &c;
$ gcc -Wall b.c -c
$ g++ -Wall b.c -c
b.c: In function ‘void foo()’:
b.c:6:14: error: invalid conversion from ‘void*’ to ‘int*’

> it's just different, and it's actively *broken* wrt NULL. Always has
> been.
> The sane thing to do for C++ would always have been to recognize that
> "(void *)0" is not a "void pointer" - it's just NULL.

As much as I agree that it was stupid to copy the special-casing of 0 from C
and they should have instead special-cased (void*)0, the reality is that it
took them until C++11 to add that to the standard, and even there they did it
differently, so C++ now has to live with the legacy of NULL being possibly
implemented in a stupid way.

The reality is also that g++ people recognized this quite some time back,
implemented NULL in a sane way, and kernel headers still replace that
implementation with one that, as you yourself say, is technically wrong. So
how about my patch that fixes that? The rest is a discussion about things
that should have been but are not and is completely pointless by now.

headers: do not redefine userspace's NULL #define when compiling C++ code

GCC's NULL is actually __null when compiling C++, which allows detecting some
questionable NULL usage and warn about it.

Signed-off-by: Luboš Luňák <>
include/linux/stddef.h | 12 +++++++++---
1 files changed, 9 insertions(+), 3 deletions(-)

diff --git a/include/linux/stddef.h b/include/linux/stddef.h
index 6a40c76..a75f4b9 100644
--- a/include/linux/stddef.h
+++ b/include/linux/stddef.h
@@ -3,12 +3,18 @@

#include <linux/compiler.h>

-#undef NULL
#if defined(__cplusplus)
-#define NULL 0
+#ifndef NULL
+#ifdef __GNUG__
+#define NULL __null
-#define NULL ((void *)0)
+#define NULL 0
+#else /* __cplusplus */
+#undef NULL
+#define NULL ((void *)0)
+#endif /* __cplusplus */

#ifdef __KERNEL__


Lubos Lunak
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