GHCi crashes on large alloca/allocaBytes requests
GHCi, and ghc, seems to exit (crash?) on certain types of memory allocation exceptions.
The FFI addendum says that the allocation functions should be able to return null: http://www.cse.unsw.edu.au/\~chak/haskell/ffi/ffi/ffise5.html\#x8-230005
Section 5.8 says this:
If any of the allocation functions fails, a value of Ptr.nullPtr is produced. If free or reallocBytes is applied to a memory area that has been allocated with alloca or allocaBytes, the behaviour is undefined. Any further access to memory areas allocated with alloca or allocaBytes, after the computation that was passed to the allocation function has terminated, leads to undefined behaviour. Any further access to the memory area referenced by a pointer passed to realloc, reallocBytes, or free entails undefined behaviour.
In practice, code examples and documentation appear to rely on
alloca NOT returning a
I reported this on the libraries list, and offered a documentation tweak, and I was asked to create a ticket: http://www.haskell.org/pipermail/libraries/2011-March/016117.html
That email has details about the testing I did at the time to see the crashing behavior in ghci. I was using ghc 7.0.2 on 64bit windows, but this also appears to affect 7.0.3 on linux. It's likely that other versions of ghc are affected.
My recommendation would be to make the exception thrown by
alloca catchable. Possibly offering an alternative to
alloca', that can produce a
nullPtr instead of using exceptions. I would advice against changing the existing
alloca function to produce
nullPtr as that could make a lot of existing code unsafe.
For example, it would be nice if the following printed "exception", instead of exiting:
$ ulimit -d 100000 -m 1000000 -v 100000 $ ghc --version The Glorious Glasgow Haskell Compilation System, version 7.0.3 $ ./Alloca Alloca: out of memory (requested 2148532224 bytes) $ cat Alloca.hs import Foreign import Foreign.Marshal import Foreign.Marshal.Alloc import GHC.Exception import System.IO.Error main :: IO () main = do (allocaBytes maxBound compare) `catch` (\_ -> print "exception") where compare p = print ((nullPtr :: Ptr Int) == p)