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From Tom Harrington <>
Subject Re: Memory management in 1.3.x
Date Mon, 13 Dec 1999 18:23:11 GMT
Scott Hess wrote:
> My suggestion would be to write a malloc()/free() replacement, and
> use -Dmalloc=my_malloc -Dfree=my_free to replace the current uses.

I have considered this possibility, and not yet rejected it.  However,
Apache's memory subsystem already implements most of what I would need.
As a result there's a strong incentive to try and use this existing
code rather than reinventing it.

The main problem that I face is the lack of any sort of virtual addressing.
As a result it's impossible to reliably allocate more than a single 
memory page (larger allocations fail unless the system can locate 
enough adjacent free pages to meet the request).  So any malloc() over
4kB is likely to fail.  The only real exception to this is that, if you
try to allocate a larger chunk at boot time, there are still lots of
adjacent free pages, and you'll probably get it.  It's only later that 
memory fragmentation makes allocation a problem.  I think I can allocate
a large block in this manner, and modify src/main/alloc.c to use it.
But the malloc()s that don't use the memory API are still a potential

This solution has a number of obvious limitations, but it's the only
one that seems to exist right now.  I am lobbying for a saner memory
management system (since we make the OS, we can enhance it) but it's
not clear if I'll succeed.  In the meantime, management here is aware
of the limitations and still thinks the port is a good idea.

> The use
> of pools you suggest seems like it would have rather high overhead for
> those platforms which already have a suitable malloc library.

I would not try to force this solution on platforms where it's not
necessary.  A few strategic #ifdefs would enable me to have this change
on my platform without altering the code for anyone else.  I'm just
not certain that it'd work the way I want it to.

I hadn't really considered the performance implications, though, I had
mainly focused on "will it work at all?".  This may be a useful point
in my effort to improve our memory management...

> Later,
> scott
> ----- Original Message -----
> From: Tom Harrington <>
> To: <>
> Sent: Monday, December 13, 1999 9:38 AM
> Subject: Memory management in 1.3.x
> > I'm porting 1.3.x to an embedded OS with some rather non-Unixish (and
> > non-NTish, for that matter) restrictions on memory allocation.  Despite
> > the differences I think it's possible.
> >
> > What would make this a whole lot easier would be if I could eliminate
> > all calls to malloc() and the like outside of src/main/alloc.c, forcing
> > all memory requests to go through the memory API.  These malloc() calls
> > will need to be rewritten in one way or another if this port is to
> > succeed, and it looks like the best solution is to replace them with
> > calls like ap_palloc wherever possible.
> >
> > So I'd like some feedback on the wisdom of changes like the following:
> >
> > * When a malloc() appears, replace it with:
> > pool *ptmp;
> > ptemp = ap_make_sub_pool(NULL);
> > foo = ap_palloc(ptmp, ....);
> >
> > * If a corresponding free() appears, replace it with
> > ap_destroy_pool(ptmp);
> >
> > It appears that this may not work in all cases, but every little bit
> > helps.
> >
> > --
> > Tom Harrington
> > CrosStor Software, Inc.
> >

Tom Harrington
CrosStor Software, Inc.

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