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MALLOC(3)			   BSD Library Functions Manual 			MALLOC(3)

     malloc, calloc, realloc, free, reallocf, malloc_usable_size -- general purpose memory allo-
     cation functions

     Standard C Library (libc, -lc)

     #include <stdlib.h>

     void *
     malloc(size_t size);

     void *
     calloc(size_t number, size_t size);

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

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

     free(void *ptr);

     const char * _malloc_options;

     (*_malloc_message)(const char *p1, const char *p2, const char *p3, const char *p4);

     #include <malloc_np.h>

     malloc_usable_size(const void *ptr);

     The malloc() function allocates size bytes of uninitialized memory.  The allocated space is
     suitably aligned (after possible pointer coercion) for storage of any type of object.

     The calloc() function allocates space for number objects, each size bytes in length.  The
     result is identical to calling malloc() with an argument of ``number * size'', with the
     exception that the allocated memory is explicitly initialized to zero bytes.

     The realloc() function changes the size of the previously allocated memory referenced by ptr
     to size bytes.  The contents of the memory are unchanged up to the lesser of the new and old
     sizes.  If the new size is larger, the contents of the newly allocated portion of the memory
     are undefined.  Upon success, the memory referenced by ptr is freed and a pointer to the
     newly allocated memory is returned.  Note that realloc() and reallocf() may move the memory
     allocation, resulting in a different return value than ptr.  If ptr is NULL, the realloc()
     function behaves identically to malloc() for the specified size.

     The reallocf() function is identical to the realloc() function, except that it will free the
     passed pointer when the requested memory cannot be allocated.  This is a FreeBSD specific
     API designed to ease the problems with traditional coding styles for realloc causing memory
     leaks in libraries.

     The free() function causes the allocated memory referenced by ptr to be made available for
     future allocations.  If ptr is NULL, no action occurs.

     The malloc_usable_size() function returns the usable size of the allocation pointed to by
     ptr.  The return value may be larger than the size that was requested during allocation.
     The malloc_usable_size() function is not a mechanism for in-place realloc(); rather it is
     provided solely as a tool for introspection purposes.  Any discrepancy between the requested
     allocation size and the size reported by malloc_usable_size() should not be depended on,
     since such behavior is entirely implementation-dependent.

     Once, when the first call is made to one of these memory allocation routines, various flags
     will be set or reset, which affects the workings of this allocator implementation.

     The ``name'' of the file referenced by the symbolic link named /etc/malloc.conf, the value
     of the environment variable MALLOC_OPTIONS, and the string pointed to by the global variable
     _malloc_options will be interpreted, in that order, from left to right as flags.

     Each flag is a single letter, optionally prefixed by a non-negative base 10 integer repeti-
     tion count.  For example, ``3N'' is equivalent to ``NNN''.  Some flags control parameter
     magnitudes, where uppercase increases the magnitude, and lowercase decreases the magnitude.
     Other flags control boolean parameters, where uppercase indicates that a behavior is set, or
     on, and lowercase means that a behavior is not set, or off.

     A	     All warnings (except for the warning about unknown flags being set) become fatal.
	     The process will call abort(3) in these cases.

     B	     Double/halve the per-arena lock contention threshold at which a thread is randomly
	     re-assigned to an arena.  This dynamic load balancing tends to push threads away
	     from highly contended arenas, which avoids worst case contention scenarios in which
	     threads disproportionately utilize arenas.  However, due to the highly dynamic load
	     that applications may place on the allocator, it is impossible for the allocator to
	     know in advance how sensitive it should be to contention over arenas.  Therefore,
	     some applications may benefit from increasing or decreasing this threshold parame-
	     ter.  This option is not available for some configurations (non-PIC).

     C	     Double/halve the size of the maximum size class that is a multiple of the cacheline
	     size (64).  Above this size, subpage spacing (256 bytes) is used for size classes.
	     The default value is 512 bytes.

     D	     Use sbrk(2) to acquire memory in the data storage segment (DSS).  This option is
	     enabled by default.  See the ``M'' option for related information and interactions.

     F	     Double/halve the per-arena maximum number of dirty unused pages that are allowed to
	     accumulate before informing the kernel about at least half of those pages via
	     madvise(2).  This provides the kernel with sufficient information to recycle dirty
	     pages if physical memory becomes scarce and the pages remain unused.  The default is
	     512 pages per arena; MALLOC_OPTIONS=10f will prevent any dirty unused pages from

     G	     When there are multiple threads, use thread-specific caching for objects that are
	     smaller than one page.  This option is enabled by default.  Thread-specific caching
	     allows many allocations to be satisfied without performing any thread synchroniza-
	     tion, at the cost of increased memory use.  See the ``R'' option for related tuning
	     information.  This option is not available for some configurations (non-PIC).

     J	     Each byte of new memory allocated by malloc(), realloc() or reallocf() will be ini-
	     tialized to 0xa5.	All memory returned by free(), realloc() or reallocf() will be
	     initialized to 0x5a.  This is intended for debugging and will impact performance

     K	     Double/halve the virtual memory chunk size.  The default chunk size is 1 MB.

     M	     Use mmap(2) to acquire anonymously mapped memory.	This option is enabled by
	     default.  If both the ``D'' and ``M'' options are enabled, the allocator prefers
	     anonymous mappings over the DSS, but allocation only fails if memory cannot be
	     acquired via either method.  If neither option is enabled, then the ``M'' option is
	     implicitly enabled in order to assure that there is a method for acquiring memory.

     N	     Double/halve the number of arenas.  The default number of arenas is two times the
	     number of CPUs, or one if there is a single CPU.

     P	     Various statistics are printed at program exit via an atexit(3) function.	This has
	     the potential to cause deadlock for a multi-threaded process that exits while one or
	     more threads are executing in the memory allocation functions.  Therefore, this
	     option should only be used with care; it is primarily intended as a performance tun-
	     ing aid during application development.

     Q	     Double/halve the size of the maximum size class that is a multiple of the quantum (8
	     or 16 bytes, depending on architecture).  Above this size, cacheline spacing is used
	     for size classes.	The default value is 128 bytes.

     R	     Double/halve magazine size, which approximately doubles/halves the number of rounds
	     in each magazine.	Magazines are used by the thread-specific caching machinery to
	     acquire and release objects in bulk.  Increasing the magazine size decreases locking
	     overhead, at the expense of increased memory usage.  This option is not available
	     for some configurations (non-PIC).

     U	     Generate ``utrace'' entries for ktrace(1), for all operations.  Consult the source
	     for details on this option.

     V	     Attempting to allocate zero bytes will return a NULL pointer instead of a valid
	     pointer.  (The default behavior is to make a minimal allocation and return a pointer
	     to it.)  This option is provided for System V compatibility.  This option is incom-
	     patible with the ``X'' option.

     X	     Rather than return failure for any allocation function, display a diagnostic message
	     on stderr and cause the program to drop core (using abort(3)).  This option should
	     be set at compile time by including the following in the source code:

		   _malloc_options = "X";

     Z	     Each byte of new memory allocated by malloc(), realloc() or reallocf() will be ini-
	     tialized to 0.  Note that this initialization only happens once for each byte, so
	     realloc() and reallocf() calls do not zero memory that was previously allocated.
	     This is intended for debugging and will impact performance negatively.

     The ``J'' and ``Z'' options are intended for testing and debugging.  An application which
     changes its behavior when these options are used is flawed.

     Traditionally, allocators have used sbrk(2) to obtain memory, which is suboptimal for sev-
     eral reasons, including race conditions, increased fragmentation, and artificial limitations
     on maximum usable memory.	This allocator uses both sbrk(2) and mmap(2) by default, but it
     can be configured at run time to use only one or the other.  If resource limits are not a
     primary concern, the preferred configuration is MALLOC_OPTIONS=dM or MALLOC_OPTIONS=DM.
     When so configured, the datasize resource limit has little practical effect for typical
     applications; use MALLOC_OPTIONS=Dm if that is a concern.	Regardless of allocator configu-
     ration, the vmemoryuse resource limit can be used to bound the total virtual memory used by
     a process, as described in limits(1).

     This allocator uses multiple arenas in order to reduce lock contention for threaded programs
     on multi-processor systems.  This works well with regard to threading scalability, but
     incurs some costs.  There is a small fixed per-arena overhead, and additionally, arenas man-
     age memory completely independently of each other, which means a small fixed increase in
     overall memory fragmentation.  These overheads are not generally an issue, given the number
     of arenas normally used.  Note that using substantially more arenas than the default is not
     likely to improve performance, mainly due to reduced cache performance.  However, it may
     make sense to reduce the number of arenas if an application does not make much use of the
     allocation functions.

     In addition to multiple arenas, this allocator supports thread-specific caching for small
     objects (smaller than one page), in order to make it possible to completely avoid synchro-
     nization for most small allocation requests.  Such caching allows very fast allocation in
     the common case, but it increases memory usage and fragmentation, since a bounded number of
     objects can remain allocated in each thread cache.

     Memory is conceptually broken into equal-sized chunks, where the chunk size is a power of
     two that is greater than the page size.  Chunks are always aligned to multiples of the chunk
     size.  This alignment makes it possible to find metadata for user objects very quickly.

     User objects are broken into three categories according to size: small, large, and huge.
     Small objects are smaller than one page.  Large objects are smaller than the chunk size.
     Huge objects are a multiple of the chunk size.  Small and large objects are managed by are-
     nas; huge objects are managed separately in a single data structure that is shared by all
     threads.  Huge objects are used by applications infrequently enough that this single data
     structure is not a scalability issue.

     Each chunk that is managed by an arena tracks its contents as runs of contiguous pages
     (unused, backing a set of small objects, or backing one large object).  The combination of
     chunk alignment and chunk page maps makes it possible to determine all metadata regarding
     small and large allocations in constant time.

     Small objects are managed in groups by page runs.	Each run maintains a bitmap that tracks
     which regions are in use.	Allocation requests that are no more than half the quantum (8 or
     16, depending on architecture) are rounded up to the nearest power of two.  Allocation
     requests that are more than half the quantum, but no more than the minimum cacheline-multi-
     ple size class (see the ``Q'' option) are rounded up to the nearest multiple of the quantum.
     Allocation requests that are more than the minumum cacheline-multiple size class, but no
     more than the minimum subpage-multiple size class (see the ``C'' option) are rounded up to
     the nearest multiple of the cacheline size (64).  Allocation requests that are more than the
     minimum subpage-multiple size class are rounded up to the nearest multiple of the subpage
     size (256).  Allocation requests that are more than one page, but small enough to fit in an
     arena-managed chunk (see the ``K'' option), are rounded up to the nearest run size.  Alloca-
     tion requests that are too large to fit in an arena-managed chunk are rounded up to the
     nearest multiple of the chunk size.

     Allocations are packed tightly together, which can be an issue for multi-threaded applica-
     tions.  If you need to assure that allocations do not suffer from cacheline sharing, round
     your allocation requests up to the nearest multiple of the cacheline size.

     The first thing to do is to set the ``A'' option.	This option forces a coredump (if possi-
     ble) at the first sign of trouble, rather than the normal policy of trying to continue if at
     all possible.

     It is probably also a good idea to recompile the program with suitable options and symbols
     for debugger support.

     If the program starts to give unusual results, coredump or generally behave differently
     without emitting any of the messages mentioned in the next section, it is likely because it
     depends on the storage being filled with zero bytes.  Try running it with the ``Z'' option
     set; if that improves the situation, this diagnosis has been confirmed.  If the program
     still misbehaves, the likely problem is accessing memory outside the allocated area.

     Alternatively, if the symptoms are not easy to reproduce, setting the ``J'' option may help
     provoke the problem.

     In truly difficult cases, the ``U'' option, if supported by the kernel, can provide a
     detailed trace of all calls made to these functions.

     Unfortunately this implementation does not provide much detail about the problems it
     detects; the performance impact for storing such information would be prohibitive.  There
     are a number of allocator implementations available on the Internet which focus on detecting
     and pinpointing problems by trading performance for extra sanity checks and detailed diag-

     If any of the memory allocation/deallocation functions detect an error or warning condition,
     a message will be printed to file descriptor STDERR_FILENO.  Errors will result in the
     process dumping core.  If the ``A'' option is set, all warnings are treated as errors.

     The _malloc_message variable allows the programmer to override the function which emits the
     text strings forming the errors and warnings if for some reason the stderr file descriptor
     is not suitable for this.	Please note that doing anything which tries to allocate memory in
     this function is likely to result in a crash or deadlock.

     All messages are prefixed by ``<progname>: (malloc)''.

     The malloc() and calloc() functions return a pointer to the allocated memory if successful;
     otherwise a NULL pointer is returned and errno is set to ENOMEM.

     The realloc() and reallocf() functions return a pointer, possibly identical to ptr, to the
     allocated memory if successful; otherwise a NULL pointer is returned, and errno is set to
     ENOMEM if the error was the result of an allocation failure.  The realloc() function always
     leaves the original buffer intact when an error occurs, whereas reallocf() deallocates it in
     this case.

     The free() function returns no value.

     The malloc_usable_size() function returns the usable size of the allocation pointed to by

     The following environment variables affect the execution of the allocation functions:

     MALLOC_OPTIONS  If the environment variable MALLOC_OPTIONS is set, the characters it con-
		     tains will be interpreted as flags to the allocation functions.

     To dump core whenever a problem occurs:

	   ln -s 'A' /etc/malloc.conf

     To specify in the source that a program does no return value checking on calls to these

	   _malloc_options = "X";

     limits(1), madvise(2), mmap(2), sbrk(2), alloca(3), atexit(3), getpagesize(3), memory(3),

     The malloc(), calloc(), realloc() and free() functions conform to ISO/IEC 9899:1990
     (``ISO C90'').

     The reallocf() function first appeared in FreeBSD 3.0.

     The malloc_usable_size() function first appeared in FreeBSD 7.0.

BSD					 August 26, 2008				      BSD
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