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Re: [PATCH] config: use a static lock_file struct

On 08/30/2017 07:55 AM, Jeff King wrote:
> On Wed, Aug 30, 2017 at 12:55:55AM -0400, Jeff King wrote:
> [...]
> The patch below demonstrates how this could be used to turn some
> "xcalloc" lock_files into stack variables that are allowed to go out of
> scope after we commit or rollback. This solves the three lock-related
> leaks reported by valgrind when running t0000.
> _But_ it also demonstrates an interesting downside of this approach.
> Some functions are lazy in their error paths. For instance, look at
> write_index_as_tree(). We take the lock early in the function, but may
> return before a commit or rollback if we hit an error.  With the current
> code this "leaks" the tempfile, which is wrong. But nobody notices
> because in practice the program exits soon after and we clean up the
> tempfile then.
> But with a stack variable lock_file, that minor problem becomes a major
> one: our stack variable got added to a global linked list and the
> atexit() handler will try to read it. But now of course it will contain
> garbage, since the variable went out of scope.
> So it's probably safer to just let tempfile.c handle the whole lifetime,
> and have it put all live tempfiles on the heap, and free them when
> they're deactivated. That means our creation signature becomes more
> like:
>   struct tempfile *create_tempfile(const char *path);
> and delete_tempfile() actually calls free() on it (though we'd probably
> want to skip the free() from a signal handler for the usual reasons).

I agree that the latter would be a nice, and relatively safe, design. It
would involve some fairly intrusive changes to client code, though.

I think it would be possible to implement the new API while leaving the
old one intact, to avoid having to rewrite all clients at once, and
potentially to allow clients to avoid a malloc if they already have a
convenient place to embed a `struct tempfile` (except that now they'd be
able to free it when done). For example, `create_tempfile(tempfile,
path)` and its friends could accept NULL as the first argument, in which
case it would malloc a `struct tempfile` itself, and mark it as being
owned by the tempfile module. Such objects would be freed when
deactivated. But if the caller passes in a non-NULL `tempfile` argument,
the old behavior would be retained.