malloc, free, realloc, calloc, alloca - memory allocator
char *realloc(ptr, size)
char *calloc(nelem, elsize)
unsigned nelem, elsize;
Malloc and free provide a general-purpose memory allocation package. Malloc returns a
pointer to a block of at least size bytes beginning on a word boundary.
The argument to free is a pointer to a block previously allocated by malloc; this space is
made available for further allocation, but its contents are left undisturbed.
Needless to say, grave disorder will result if the space assigned by malloc is overrun or
if some random number is handed to free.
Malloc maintains multiple lists of free blocks according to size, allocating space from
the appropriate list. It calls sbrk (see brk(2)) to get more memory from the system when
there is no suitable space already free.
Realloc changes the size of the block pointed to by ptr to size bytes and returns a
pointer to the (possibly moved) block. The contents will be unchanged up to the lesser of
the new and old sizes.
In order to be compatible with older versions, realloc also works if ptr points to a block
freed since the last call of malloc, realloc or calloc; sequences of free, malloc and
realloc were previously used to attempt storage compaction. This procedure is no longer
Calloc allocates space for an array of nelem elements of size elsize. The space is ini-
tialized to zeros.
Alloca allocates size bytes of space in the stack frame of the caller. This temporary
space is automatically freed on return.
Each of the allocation routines returns a pointer to space suitably aligned (after possi-
ble pointer coercion) for storage of any type of object. If the space is of pagesize or
larger, the memory returned will be page-aligned.
Malloc, realloc and calloc return a null pointer (0) if there is no available memory or if
the arena has been detectably corrupted by storing outside the bounds of a block. Malloc
may be recompiled to check the arena very stringently on every transaction; those sites
with a source code license may check the source code to see how this can be done.
When realloc returns 0, the block pointed to by ptr may be destroyed.
The current implementation of malloc does not always fail gracefully when system memory
limits are approached. It may fail to allocate memory when larger free blocks could be
broken up, or when limits are exceeded because the size is rounded up. It is optimized
for sizes that are powers of two.
Alloca is machine dependent; its use is discouraged.
4th Berkeley Distribution May 14, 1986 MALLOC(3)