malloc.3

MALLOC(3)                   Linux Programmer's Manual                  MALLOC(3)



NAME
       calloc, malloc, free, realloc - Allocate and free dynamic memory

SYNOPSIS
       #include <stdlib.h>

       void *calloc(size_t nmemb, size_t size);
       void *malloc(size_t size);
       void free(void *ptr);
       void *realloc(void *ptr, size_t size);

DESCRIPTION
       calloc() allocates memory for an array of nmemb elements of size bytes
       each and returns a pointer to the allocated memory.  The memory is set to
       zero.

       malloc() allocates size bytes and returns a pointer to the allocated
       memory.  The memory is not cleared.

       free() frees the memory space pointed to by ptr, which must have been
       returned by a previous call to malloc(), calloc() or realloc().
       Otherwise, or if free(ptr) has already been called before, undefined
       behaviour occurs.  If ptr is NULL, no operation is performed.

       realloc() changes the size of the memory block pointed to by ptr to size
       bytes.  The contents will be unchanged to the minimum of the old and new
       sizes; newly allocated memory will be uninitialized.  If ptr is NULL, the
       call is equivalent to malloc(size); if size is equal to zero, the call is
       equivalent to free(ptr).  Unless ptr is NULL, it must have been returned
       by an earlier call to malloc(), calloc() or realloc().  If the area
       pointed to was moved, a free(ptr) is done.

RETURN VALUE
       For calloc() and malloc(), the value returned is a pointer to the
       allocated memory, which is suitably aligned for any kind of variable, or
       NULL if the request fails.

       free() returns no value.

       realloc() returns a pointer to the newly allocated memory, which is
       suitably aligned for any kind of variable and may be different from ptr,
       or NULL if the request fails.  If size was equal to 0, either NULL or a
       pointer suitable to be passed to free() is returned.  If realloc() fails
       the original block is left untouched; it is not freed or moved.

CONFORMING TO
       C89, C99.

SEE ALSO
       brk(2), posix_memalign(3)

NOTES
       The Unix98 standard requires malloc(), calloc(), and realloc() to set
       errno to ENOMEM upon failure. Glibc assumes that this is done (and the
       glibc versions of these routines do this); if you use a private malloc
       implementation that does not set errno, then certain library routines may
       fail without having a reason in errno.

       Crashes in malloc(), calloc(), realloc(), or free() are almost always
       related to heap corruption, such as overflowing an allocated chunk or
       freeing the same pointer twice.

       Recent versions of Linux libc (later than 5.4.23) and GNU libc (2.x)
       include a malloc implementation which is tunable via environment
       variables.  When MALLOC_CHECK_ is set, a special (less efficient)
       implementation is used which is designed to be tolerant against simple
       errors, such as double calls of free() with the same argument, or
       overruns of a single byte (off-by-one bugs).  Not all such errors can be
       protected against, however, and memory leaks can result.  If
       MALLOC_CHECK_ is set to 0, any detected heap corruption is silently
       ignored; if set to 1, a diagnostic is printed on stderr; if set to 2,
       abort() is called immediately.  This can be useful because otherwise a
       crash may happen much later, and the true cause for the problem is then
       very hard to track down.

BUGS
       By default, Linux follows an optimistic memory allocation strategy.  This
       means that when malloc() returns non-NULL there is no guarantee that the
       memory really is available. This is a really bad bug.  In case it turns
       out that the system is out of memory, one or more processes will be
       killed by the infamous OOM killer.  In case Linux is employed under
       circumstances where it would be less desirable to suddenly lose some
       randomly picked processes, and moreover the kernel version is
       sufficiently recent, one can switch off this overcommitting behavior
       using a command like
              # echo 2 > /proc/sys/vm/overcommit_memory
       See also the kernel Documentation directory, files vm/overcommit-
       accounting and sysctl/vm.txt.



GNU                                1993-04-04                          MALLOC(3)