[OT] memory management -- was Re: itoa'd you so?

Bryan Sant bryan.sant at gmail.com
Wed Sep 19 23:20:35 MDT 2007

On 9/19/07, Michael L Torrie <torriem at chem.byu.edu> wrote:
> Manual memory management is often, in my opinion, a huge plus of C and
> C++.  With reference-counting smart pointers and destructors, memory
> management in C++ is very straight-forward, fast, and safe.  Just

I agree.  Using smart pointers makes a big difference.

> understanding a bit about how C++ does scoping, and you can very easily
> build and destroy entire data structures all without a single leak and
> without having to rely on a garbage collector.  Not saying a GC is bad;
> simply that it's not always necessary.

I also agree.  A proper understanding of memory management does your body good.

> With only a few caveats, C++ programmers can easily move to programming
> in Java and dealing with the GC dropping references right and left.  But
> it rarely works the other way.  9/10 core dumps in the BYU CS 240 class
> are because of Java.  It pollutes C++ programmers like nothing else!

The problem isn't a high-level language.  The problem is dumb BYU CS
students ;-).

> One of the caveats for C++ programmers is the way that C++ guarantees
> destruction when an object goes out of scope, especially when you rely
> on the side effects.  Guaranteed destruction doesn't translate directly
> into Java, although the "finalize" keyword can help (if I recall
> correctly).  A good article on the idea is at
> http://royontechnology.blogspot.com/2007/01/deterministic-destruction-of-objects-in.html

Finalize actually has its warts.  It does provide somewhat of a
nondeterministic destructor, but using it delays your object from
being collected for an extra generation.  Not a huge issue, but if you
want better heap control and deterministic clean-up of resources, it's
best to use a standard method that you manually call.


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