[llvm-dev] [RFC] Coding Standards: "prefer `int` for regular arithmetic, use `unsigned` only for bitmask and when you intend to rely on wrapping behavior."

Michael Kruse via llvm-dev llvm-dev at lists.llvm.org
Tue Jun 11 12:25:35 PDT 2019

Am Di., 11. Juni 2019 um 11:45 Uhr schrieb Zachary Turner via llvm-dev
<llvm-dev at lists.llvm.org>:
> I'm personally against changing everything to signed integers.  To me, this is an example of making code strictly less readable and more confusing in order to fight deficiencies in the language standard.  I get the problem that it's solving, but I view this as mostly a theoretical problem, whereas being able to read the code and have it make sense is a practical problem that we must face on a daily basis.  If you change everything to signed integers, you may catch a real problem with it a couple of times a year.  And by "real problem" here, I'm talking about a miscompile or an actual bug that surfaces in production somewhere, rather than a "yes, it seems theoretically possible for this to overflow".

Doesn't it make it already worth it?

> On the other hand, a large number of people need to work in this codebase every day, and multiplied over the same time period, my belief is that having the code make sense and be simple has a higher net value.
> It simply doesn't make sense (conceptually) to use a signed type for domains that are inherently unsigned, like the size of an object.  IMO, we should revisit this if and when the deficiencies in the C++ Standard are addressed.

The underlying problem is that the C family of languages mixes two
orthogonal properties: value range and overflow behavior. There is no
unsigned type with undefined wraparound. So the question becomes: What
property is more important to reflect? Do we want catch unintended
wraparound behavior using a sanitizer/make optimizations based on it?
Do we need the additional range provided by an unsigned type? As
Chandler says in one of his talks linked earlier: "If you need more
bits, use more bits" (such as int64_t).


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