[LLVMdev] [asan] The default value of 'allocator_may_return_null'

Kostya Serebryany kcc at google.com
Tue Mar 10 16:54:03 PDT 2015

On Tue, Mar 10, 2015 at 4:40 PM, Anna Zaks <ganna at apple.com> wrote:

> Hi,
> There seems to be a discrepancy between what the default value of
> 'allocator_may_return_null' should be:
>   source code:
>   ./lib/sanitizer_common/sanitizer_flags.inc:COMMON_FLAG(bool,
> allocator_may_return_null, false,
>  docs (https://code.google.com/p/address-sanitizer/wiki/Flags):
> allocator_may_return_null 1 If false, the allocator will crash instead of
> returning 0 on out-of-memory.
Good catch, fixed the wiki.

> I suspect that the reason to have it default to 'false' is because that
> would provide for a more predictable out of memory behavior in most use
> cases.


> Is that the case or should this be system dependent and match the default
> system allocator?

Errr.. I don't think so.
asan's allocator is very different from "a system allocator" in many other
E.g. it consumes more memory, and so a program that runs normally w/ a
system allocator will OOM with asan.
It's better to have asan crash instantly on OOM rather than returning 0.
The user is then notified about the flag.

> Thanks,
> Anna.
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