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Memory Allocation Library Functions                       watchmalloc(3MALLOC)

       watchmalloc - debugging memory allocator

       #include <stdlib.h>

       void *malloc(size_t size);

       void free(void *ptr);

       void *realloc(void *ptr, size_t size);

       void *memalign(size_t alignment, size_t size);

       void *valloc(size_t size);

       void *calloc(size_t nelem, size_t elsize);

       #include <malloc.h>

       int mallopt(int cmd, int value);

       struct mallinfo mallinfo(void);

       The  collection  of  malloc()  functions  in  this shared object are an
       optional replacement for the standard versions of the same functions in
       the system C library. See malloc(3C). They provide a more strict inter‐
       face than the standard versions and enable enforcement of the interface
       through the watchpoint facility of /proc. See proc(5).

       Any  dynamically  linked application can be run with these functions in
       place of the standard functions if the following string is  present  in
       the environment (see

       The  individual  function interfaces are identical to the standard ones
       as described in malloc(3C). However, laxities provided in the  standard
       versions are not permitted when the watchpoint facility is enabled (see
       WATCHPOINTS below):

           o      Memory may not be freed more than once.

           o      A pointer to freed memory may not be used in a call to real‐

           o      A  call  to  malloc() immediately following a call to free()
                  will not return the same space.

           o      Any reference to memory that has been freed yields undefined

       To enforce these restrictions partially, without great loss in speed as
       compared to the watchpoint facility described below, a freed  block  of
       memory is overwritten with the pattern 0xdeadbeef before returning from
       free(). The malloc() function returns with the allocated memory  filled
       with the pattern 0xbaddcafe as a precaution against applications incor‐
       rectly expecting to  receive  back  unmodified  memory  from  the  last
       free().  The  calloc()  function  always  returns with the memory zero-

       Entry points for mallopt() and mallinfo() are provided  as  empty  rou‐
       tines,  and are present only because some malloc() implementations pro‐
       vide them.

       The watchpoint facility of /proc can be applied by a process to itself.
       The  functions  in  use this feature if the following
       string is present in the environment:


       This causes every block of freed memory to  be  covered  with  WA_WRITE
       watched  areas.  If the application attempts to write any part of freed
       memory, it will trigger a watchpoint trap, resulting in a SIGTRAP  sig‐
       nal, which normally produces an application core dump.

       A  header  is  maintained  before  each block of allocated memory. Each
       header is covered with a watched area, thereby  providing  a  red  zone
       before  and  after  each  block of allocated memory (the header for the
       subsequent memory block serves as the trailing red zone for its preced‐
       ing  memory  block).  Writing  just before or just after a memory block
       returned by malloc() will trigger a watchpoint trap.

       Watchpoints  incur  a  large  performance  penalty.   Requesting   MAL‐
       LOC_DEBUG=WATCH  can  cause  the  application  to  run  10 to 100 times
       slower, depending on the use made of allocated memory.

       Further options are enabled by specifying a comma-separated  string  of


       WATCH    Enables WA_WRITE watched areas as described above.

       RW       Enables  both  WA_READ  and WA_WRITE watched areas. An attempt
                either to read or write freed memory or  the  red  zones  will
                trigger  a watchpoint trap. This incurs even more overhead and
                can cause the application to run up to 1000 times slower.

       STOP     The process will stop showing a FLTWATCH machine fault  if  it
                triggers  a  watchpoint  trap, rather than dumping core with a
                SIGTRAP signal. This allows a debugger to be attached  to  the
                live  process  at  the point where it underwent the watchpoint
                trap. Also, the various /proc tools described in  proc(1)  can
                be used to examine the stopped process.

       One  of  WATCH or RW must be specified, else the watchpoint facility is
       not engaged. RW overrides  WATCH.  Unrecognized  options  are  silently

       Sizes  of  memory  blocks  allocated  by malloc() are rounded up to the
       worst-case alignment size, 8 bytes for 32-bit processes  and  16  bytes
       for  64-bit processes. Accessing the extra space allocated for a memory
       block is technically a memory violation but is in fact innocuous.  Such
       accesses are not detected by the watchpoint facility of watchmalloc.

       Interposition  of  fails  innocuously  if  the target
       application is statically linked with respect  to  its  malloc()  func‐

       See attributes(7) for descriptions of the following attributes:

       tab()  box; cw(2.75i) |cw(2.75i) lw(2.75i) |lw(2.75i) ATTRIBUTE TYPEAT‐
       TRIBUTE VALUE _ MT-LevelMT-Safe

       proc(1), calloc(3C), free(3C), malloc(3C),  memalign(3C),  realloc(3C),
       valloc(3C),  libmapmalloc(3LIB),  bsdmalloc(3MALLOC),  malloc(3MALLOC),
       mapmalloc(3MALLOC), proc(5), attributes(7)

Oracle Solaris 11.4               10 Jan 2007             watchmalloc(3MALLOC)
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