Re: Arrays of variable length

From: Tomas Winkler
Date: Thu Mar 09 2017 - 09:25:24 EST

On Thu, Mar 9, 2017 at 4:16 PM, MÃns RullgÃrd <mans@xxxxxxxxx> wrote:
> Tomas Winkler <tomasw@xxxxxxxxx> writes:
>> On Thu, Mar 9, 2017 at 3:02 PM, MÃns RullgÃrd <mans@xxxxxxxxx> wrote:
>>> Tomas Winkler <tomasw@xxxxxxxxx> writes:
>>>> On Mon, Mar 6, 2017 at 2:31 AM, MÃns RullgÃrd <mans@xxxxxxxxx> wrote:
>>>>> Henrique de Moraes Holschuh <hmh@xxxxxxxxxx> writes:
>>>>>> On Sun, 05 Mar 2017, MÃns RullgÃrd wrote:
>>>>>>> Tomas Winkler <tomasw@xxxxxxxxx> writes:
>>>>>>> > Sparse complains for arrays declared with variable length
>>>>>>> >
>>>>>>> > 'warning: Variable length array is used'
>>>>>>> >
>>>>>>> > Prior to c99 this was not allowed but lgcc (c99) doesn't have problem
>>>>>>> > with that
>>>>>>> > And also Linux kernel compilation with W=1 doesn't complain.
>>>>>>> >
>>>>>>> > Since sparse is used extensively would like to ask what is the correct
>>>>>>> > usage of arrays of variable length
>>>>>>> > within Linux Kernel.
>>>>>>> Variable-length arrays are a very bad idea. Don't use them, ever.
>>>>>>> If the size has a sane upper bound, just use that value statically.
>>>>>>> Otherwise, you have a stack overflow waiting to happen and should be
>>>>>>> using some kind of dynamic allocation instead.
>>>>>>> Furthermore, use of VLAs generally results in less efficient code. For
>>>>>>> instance, it forces gcc to waste a register for the frame pointer, and
>>>>>>> it often prevents inlining.
>>>>>> Well, if we're going to forbid VLAs in the kernel, IMHO the kernel build
>>>>>> system should call gcc with -Werror=vla to get that point across early,
>>>>>> and flush out any offenders.
>>>>> If it were up to me, that's exactly what I'd do.
>>>> Some parts of the kernel depends on VLA such as ___ON_STACK macros in
>>>> include/crypto/hash.h
>>>> It's actually pretty neat implementation, maybe it's too harsh to
>>>> disable VLA completely.
>>> And what happens if the requested size is insane?
>> One option is to add '-Wvla-larger-than=n'
> If you know the upper bound, why use VLAs in the first place?

This is a water mark and not actual usage, but maybe I didn't
understand your comment.