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From Brian Pane <>
Subject Re: Pondering strings in Apache 3.x
Date Wed, 20 Jul 2005 05:28:21 GMT
On Jul 19, 2005, at 12:55 PM, William A. Rowe, Jr. wrote:

> Greg and a few others voiced interest in moving from null-term
> strings to counted strings for a future version of Apache.
> This was too broad a scope change to make it into 2.0, of course,
> and was dropped on the floor for the time being.
> I'm wondering today; what metadata interests us in an ap_string_t
> prefix header?  I have a hunch that a short, 65536, is enough
> to map most data we want to handle in one chunk; brigades are
> better for handling large sets of data.  Of course we could push
> that to an int, or size_t, but there would be a small memory
> penalty.  It might be overcome by cpu-specific optimized int
> or size_t handling behavior, since the assembly code wouldn't
> need to truncate short values.
> Perhaps, both bytes allocated/used, in order to play optimized
> games with string allocation.  Perhaps, a refcount?  (This
> doesn't play well with pool allocations, obviously.)
> But the byte count clearly isn't enough.  I'm thinking of;
>   encoding;  is this data URI escaped or un-escaped?
>   tainted;   is it raw?  or has it been untainted with
>              context-specific validity checks?
>   charset;   is this native?  (e.g. EBCDIC).  utf-8?
>              opaque or otherwise a specific set?
> What else interests us within an 'ap_string_t' header, that
> would help eliminate bugs within httpd?  A random trailing
> short following the string, in a 'string debug' mode, to
> detect buffer overflows?  Something similar to detect
> underflows?
> Open to all ideas.

This may be a bit more radical than you were hoping for, but...

I like the idea of using a reference-counted, non-null-terminated
string type for 3.x.

More generally, it would be great to have overflow detection
on all arrays.

And although I like the performance benefits of the pool memory
allocators, I remember how tricky it was to debug some of the
pool and bucket lifetime problems that we encountered during
the development of 2.0 (especially in filters).  All things considered,
I don't think I'd mind the overhead of a garbage collection thread.

Thus I can't help but wonder: Would 3.0 be a good time to consider
trying a Java-based httpd?


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