Aliasing bug when casting char[] into char* ?

Discussion in 'C Programming' started by Xavier Roche, Feb 6, 2007.

  1. Xavier Roche

    Xavier Roche Guest

    Hi folks,

    I have a probably rather silly question: is casting a char array in a
    char* a potential source of aliasing bug ?

    Example: a fonction returning a buffer taken in a circular buffer

    typedef struct foo_t foo_t;
    struct foo_t {
    int index;
    char buff[16][8192];

    static char* getBuff(foo_t *s) {
    s->index = ( s->index + 1 ) % 16;
    printf("returning s->buff[%d] == %p\n",
    s->index, s->buff[s->index]);
    return s->buff[s->index];

    void test(char *a, char *b) {
    printf("got pointers: %p %p\n", a, b);

    int main(void) {
    foo_t s = { 0 };
    test(getBuff(&s), getBuff(&s));
    return 0;

    The problem is that on Visual C++ 2003, the two returned pointers are
    identical when optimizing (!)

    Tested with Visual C++ 2003, release mode (optimized)

    returning s->buff[1] == 00111F5C
    returning s->buff[2] == 00113F5C
    got pointers: 00113F5C 00113F5C

    Tested with gcc 3.3.4, optimized (O4):

    returning s->buff[1] == 0xfffde008
    returning s->buff[2] == 0xfffe0008
    got pointers: 0xfffde008 0xfffe0008

    Is the bug inside this code ? (or inside the compiler ?)

    [Xpost to comp.lang.c, comp.std.c, FU2 to comp.std.c]
    Xavier Roche, Feb 6, 2007
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  2. Xavier Roche

    Xavier Roche Guest

    Re: Inlining bug ?

    Arthur J. O'Dwyer wrote:
    >> test(getBuff(&s), getBuff(&s));

    > This is the interesting line. Are we guaranteed that the two
    > invocations of 'getBuff' do not interleave in any way? I think
    > we are, because guarantees a sequence point before
    > each function call. Therefore, MSVC++ is wrong.

    Thanks, good catch! - the inlining of the function appears to be the
    problem. Even though the function call order is undefined, I also
    suspect that the function call should guarantee a sequence point.

    The only workaround to this feature seems to use the MSVC-specific
    keyword '__declspec(noinline)'

    (I just checked, and this "optimization" has been removed for MSVC 2005,
    and is only in MSVC2003 (*and* not in earlier releases))
    Xavier Roche, Feb 7, 2007
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