[cfe-dev] RFC: do not optimize on basis of __attribute__((nonnull)) in glibc headers

Richard Smith via cfe-dev cfe-dev at lists.llvm.org
Tue Jan 3 14:06:16 PST 2017

Via https://reviews.llvm.org/D27855, LLVM is likely to gain the ability to
delete null checks in callers based on __attribute__((nonnull)) on the
callee. This interacts badly with glibc's choice to mark the pointer
parameters of memcpy, memmove, etc. as __attribute__((nonnull)) -- it is
relatively common for programs to pass a null pointer and a zero size to
these functions, and in practice libc implementations accept such usage.
Indeed, LLVM's lowering of @llvm.memcpy intrinsics relies on these calls

Deleting a null pointer check on p after a memcpy(p, q, 0) call seems
extremely user-hostile, and very unlikely to result in a valuable
improvement to the program, so I propose that we stop lowering
__attribute__((nonnull)) on these builtin library functions to the llvm
nonnull attribute.

(Chandler is working on a paper for the C++ committee proposing to give
these functions defined behavior when given a null pointer and a zero size,
but optimizing on the basis of these particular nonnull attributes seems
like a bad idea regardless of the C or C++ committees' decisions.)

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