Behavior of the code

Discussion in 'C Programming' started by somenath, Dec 25, 2007.

  1. somenath

    somenath Guest

    Hi All,

    I was going through one of the exercise of one C tutorial .
    In that they have given one small code and asked about the output.

    #include <stdio.h>
    int main(void)
    int x = 0xFFFFFFF0;
    signed char y;
    y = x;
    printf("%x\n", y);
    return 0;
    Output of the program is


    The explanation they have given as bellow

    Since %x is being used for printing, the printf statement will promote
    y to an integer and hence fffffff0 will be printed.

    I have doubt about the explanation.

    My understanding is
    1) if we assign a signed variable more than its max size it will
    overflow so the behavior is undefined .
    2) And in the explanation it says %x promote y to an integer but I
    think it converts its argument to hexadecimal.
    Is my understanding wrong?

    Please help.

    somenath, Dec 25, 2007
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  2. Good. The explanation is wrong.

    It's not quite as bad as that. If 0xfffffff0 is interpreted as an int
    and ints have a 32-bit two's complement representation then x is -16,
    which is within the range of signed char. For other implementation
    choices, such as 64-bit ints, there may be undefined behaviour for
    exactly the reason you suggest.

    There is some implementation-dependence here: obviously the size of
    but also (if I am interpreting the standard correctly), whether
    is interpreted as an int or unsigned int constant. If it is
    as unsigned int then I think you do have undefined behaviour

    Yes. You are right, the explanation is wrong. We can look at a
    simplified version of the program that doesn't have the confusing
    conversion from int.

    #include <stdio.h>
    int main(void)
    signed char y = -16;
    printf("%x\n", y);
    return 0;

    The actual output is implementation-specified, but on my computer
    also prints

    In this program, since y is part of the variable-length argument
    list of printf() it will be promoted[1] by the default argument
    promotions to int. printf() receives an int value of -16, and the
    %x format asks for this in hexadecimal. The %x format has nothing to
    do with the promotion of y to int.


    [1] I'm not sure whether it is possible for signed char to have values
    that don't fit in an int. I'm sure that someone on the list is.
    Thomas Lumley, Dec 25, 2007
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  3. somenath

    santosh Guest

    The C standard explicitly excuses such restrictions. int neither needs
    to be 32 bits nor be represented in twos-complement form. It needs to
    hold values in the range -32767 to 32767. It could be twos-complement,
    ones-complement or sign-and-magnitude or something else. It is not
    explicitly stated but we may presume at least 16 value bits for an int,
    as C needs binary representation.
    santosh, Dec 25, 2007
  4. somenath

    Old Wolf Guest

    This is rubbish, your tutorial is lame
    It is implementation-defined to assign an out-of-range
    value to an int. Your compiler documentation should say
    somewhere what it does in this case.

    It looks like on your implmentation, the result is that
    -16 gets assigned to the int.
    The behaviour is undefined because you have to explicitly
    pass an unsigned int for %x , the compiler doesn't do any
    Old Wolf, Dec 25, 2007
  5. somenath

    somenath Guest

    To get little bit clearer .
    So if i assigned 128 to signed char it is not guranted that it will
    be converted to -128
    For example
    signed char x = 0x80;
    x will not always contains -128 ?
    Is it only possible in case of 2's complement representation ?
    somenath, Dec 25, 2007
  6. Yes. It practise it is most unlikely that you will ever encounter a
    non-two's complement machine, but C allows it.
    However it is not so unlikely that a char will be more than 8 bits. Not all
    machines do 8-bit addressing at an instruction level, in which case it is
    reasonable to make char more bits.
    Malcolm McLean, Dec 25, 2007
  7. somenath

    somenath Guest

    I am unable to understand the conversation
    Let me explain my understanding .

    int x = 0xFFFFFFF0;
    signed char y;
    y = x;

    In these three statements y is guaranteed to contain the last byte of
    the integer. As my machine is Little endian y wil be equal to F0 i.e
    240 in decimal.
    Now when I print using %x it should print the hexadecimal
    representation of 240 i.e F0 .Why it is printing fffffff0 ?
    somenath, Dec 25, 2007
  8. somenath

    santosh Guest

    This is not guaranteed for plain signed char. You could test for the
    presence of int8_t and use that if available, but it's likely not to be
    available on a non-twos-complement machine, in which case you'll have
    to use a wider type.

    But except for some weird architectures, you needn't worry about the
    non-availability of twos-complement.
    santosh, Dec 25, 2007
  9. somenath

    santosh Guest

    somenath wrote:

    No it's not. How can it be when 'x' isn't guaranteed to hold 0xfffffff
    in the first place. Use a smaller value like 0x7fff.
    Because of format specifier mismatch. You are supplying a char and
    telling it to look for an int. As a result, printf accesses more bytes
    than it should and prints whatever happens to be in the extra bytes.
    Use the 'hhx' format specifier and try again. Also use a cast for the
    assignment to 'y'.
    santosh, Dec 25, 2007
  10. If CHAR_BIT == 8, then char is an integer type with a width of 8 bits,
    and when such an integer type existed, the (u)int8_t typedefs would have
    to be provided. This requirement was obviously useless, and an attempt
    has been made already to correct it -- now reads

    "These types are optional. However, if an implementation provides integer
    types with widths of 8, 16, 32, or 64 bits, no padding bits, and (for
    the signed types) that have a two's complement representation, it shall
    define the corresponding typedef names."

    instead of

    "These types are optional. However, if an implementation provides integer
    types with widths of 8, 16, 32, or 64 bits, it shall define the
    corresponding typedef names."

    -- but, if CHAR_BIT == 8, unsigned char is still an unsigned integer type
    with a width of 8 bits and no padding, meaning uint8_t is required to be
    provided. And when uint8_t is provided, int8_t is required as well.

    In other words, while you're quite possibly correct about the intent,
    what the standard actually says is significantly different.
    Harald van Dijk, Dec 25, 2007
  11. somenath

    somenath Guest

    I have changed the code as below

    #include <stdio.h>
    int main(void)
    int x = 0x7fff;
    signed char y;
    y =(signed char) x;
    printf("%hhx\n", y);
    return 0;

    Now is it guaranteed that y will hold ff which is the last byte of x ?

    Now the output is ffffffff
    Why it is not ff only ?
    somenath, Dec 25, 2007
  12. Why? There is an implicit conversion from int to signed char, which
    behaves exactly the same as an explicit conversion from int to signed
    Harald van Dijk, Dec 25, 2007
  13. somenath

    santosh Guest

    I get 'ff' here. What compiler are you using and what are the options
    that you are passing it?
    santosh, Dec 25, 2007
  14. somenath

    jacob navia Guest

    I get ff here too
    jacob navia, Dec 25, 2007
  15. somenath

    jacob navia Guest

    gcc produces ff
    lcc-win produces ff
    msvc (2005) produces ffff
    jacob navia, Dec 25, 2007
  16. somenath

    Joe Wright Guest

    I took the liberty of changing the code again..

    #include <stdio.h>
    int main(void)
    int x = 0x7fff;
    char y;
    y = x;
    printf("%hx\n", y);
    return 0;
    None of the casting was necessary and "%hhx" is weird. This prints ffff
    just as I expect it to. What is the case for ff?
    Joe Wright, Dec 25, 2007
  17. somenath

    jacob navia Guest

    See my other reply. I think Microsoft has a bug here
    jacob navia, Dec 25, 2007
  18. somenath

    Thad Smith Guest

    The compiler DOES convert from signed char to int, but the end result is
    undefined because the result of interpreting an int with negative value as
    an unsigned int is undefined.
    Thad Smith, Dec 25, 2007
  19. somenath

    Joe Wright Guest

    My compiler is gcc (djgpp) and I get ffff. If msvc gets ffff too I don't
    see the 'bug' you suggest. Once x is assigned to y the value of y is -1.
    In the printf the value of y is promoted to int (still -1) and displayed
    as unsigned short (ffff). In order to print ff the value of y must be
    255 and there is no case for that here. Could be lcc-win is broke.
    Joe Wright, Dec 25, 2007
  20. somenath

    jacob navia Guest

    I was speaking about the second version, and did not see that you
    have changed it AGAIN. After that change I get ffff again.

    The bug I was referring to was for this code
    #include <stdio.h
    int main(void)
    int x = 0x7fff;
    signed char y;
    y =(signed char) x;
    printf("%hhx\n", y);
    return 0;

    jacob navia, Dec 25, 2007
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