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PERLHACKTIPS(1pm)      Perl Programmers Reference Guide      PERLHACKTIPS(1pm)


       perlhacktips - Tips for Perl core C code hacking


       This document will help you learn the best way to go about hacking on
       the Perl core C code.  It covers common problems, debugging, profiling,
       and more.

       If you haven't read perlhack and perlhacktut yet, you might want to do
       that first.


       Perl source plays by ANSI C89 rules: no C99 (or C++) extensions.  You
       don't care about some particular platform having broken Perl? I hear
       there is still a strong demand for J2EE programmers.

   Perl environment problems
       o   Not compiling with threading

           Compiling with threading (-Duseithreads) completely rewrites the
           function prototypes of Perl.  You better try your changes with
           that.  Related to this is the difference between "Perl_-less" and
           "Perl_-ly" APIs, for example:

             Perl_sv_setiv(aTHX_ ...);

           The first one explicitly passes in the context, which is needed for
           e.g. threaded builds.  The second one does that implicitly; do not
           get them mixed.  If you are not passing in a aTHX_, you will need
           to do a dTHX as the first thing in the function.

           See "How multiple interpreters and concurrency are supported" in
           perlguts for further discussion about context.

       o   Not compiling with -DDEBUGGING

           The DEBUGGING define exposes more code to the compiler, therefore
           more ways for things to go wrong.  You should try it.

       o   Introducing (non-read-only) globals

           Do not introduce any modifiable globals, truly global or file
           static.  They are bad form and complicate multithreading and other
           forms of concurrency.  The right way is to introduce them as new
           interpreter variables, see intrpvar.h (at the very end for binary

           Introducing read-only (const) globals is okay, as long as you
           verify with e.g. "nm libperl.a|egrep -v ' [TURtr] '" (if your "nm"
           has BSD-style output) that the data you added really is read-only.
           (If it is, it shouldn't show up in the output of that command.)

           If you want to have static strings, make them constant:

             static const char etc[] = "...";

           If you want to have arrays of constant strings, note carefully the
           right combination of "const"s:

               static const char * const yippee[] =
                   {"hi", "ho", "silver"};

       o   Not exporting your new function

           Some platforms (Win32, AIX, VMS, OS/2, to name a few) require any
           function that is part of the public API (the shared Perl library)
           to be explicitly marked as exported.  See the discussion about
  in perlguts.

       o   Exporting your new function

           The new shiny result of either genuine new functionality or your
           arduous refactoring is now ready and correctly exported.  So what
           could possibly go wrong?

           Maybe simply that your function did not need to be exported in the
           first place.  Perl has a long and not so glorious history of
           exporting functions that it should not have.

           If the function is used only inside one source code file, make it
           static.  See the discussion about in perlguts.

           If the function is used across several files, but intended only for
           Perl's internal use (and this should be the common case), do not
           export it to the public API.  See the discussion about in

   Portability problems
       The following are common causes of compilation and/or execution
       failures, not common to Perl as such.  The C FAQ is good bedtime
       reading.  Please test your changes with as many C compilers and
       platforms as possible; we will, anyway, and it's nice to save oneself
       from public embarrassment.

       If using gcc, you can add the "-std=c89" option which will hopefully
       catch most of these unportabilities.  (However it might also catch
       incompatibilities in your system's header files.)

       Use the Configure "-Dgccansipedantic" flag to enable the gcc "-ansi
       -pedantic" flags which enforce stricter ANSI rules.

       If using the "gcc -Wall" note that not all the possible warnings (like
       "-Wuninitialized") are given unless you also compile with "-O".

       Note that if using gcc, starting from Perl 5.9.5 the Perl core source
       code files (the ones at the top level of the source code distribution,
       but not e.g. the extensions under ext/) are automatically compiled with
       as many as possible of the "-std=c89", "-ansi", "-pedantic", and a
       selection of "-W" flags (see cflags.SH).

       Also study perlport carefully to avoid any bad assumptions about the
       operating system, filesystems, character set, and so forth.

       You may once in a while try a "make microperl" to see whether we can
       still compile Perl with just the bare minimum of interfaces.  (See

       Do not assume an operating system indicates a certain compiler.

       o   Casting pointers to integers or casting integers to pointers

               void castaway(U8* p)
                 IV i = p;


               void castaway(U8* p)
                 IV i = (IV)p;

           Both are bad, and broken, and unportable.  Use the PTR2IV() macro
           that does it right.  (Likewise, there are PTR2UV(), PTR2NV(),
           INT2PTR(), and NUM2PTR().)

       o   Casting between function pointers and data pointers

           Technically speaking casting between function pointers and data
           pointers is unportable and undefined, but practically speaking it
           seems to work, but you should use the FPTR2DPTR() and DPTR2FPTR()
           macros.  Sometimes you can also play games with unions.

       o   Assuming sizeof(int) == sizeof(long)

           There are platforms where longs are 64 bits, and platforms where
           ints are 64 bits, and while we are out to shock you, even platforms
           where shorts are 64 bits.  This is all legal according to the C
           standard.  (In other words, "long long" is not a portable way to
           specify 64 bits, and "long long" is not even guaranteed to be any
           wider than "long".)

           Instead, use the definitions IV, UV, IVSIZE, I32SIZE, and so forth.
           Avoid things like I32 because they are not guaranteed to be exactly
           32 bits, they are at least 32 bits, nor are they guaranteed to be
           int or long.  If you really explicitly need 64-bit variables, use
           I64 and U64, but only if guarded by HAS_QUAD.

       o   Assuming one can dereference any type of pointer for any type of

             char *p = ...;
             long pony = *(long *)p;    /* BAD */

           Many platforms, quite rightly so, will give you a core dump instead
           of a pony if the p happens not to be correctly aligned.

       o   Lvalue casts

             (int)*p = ...;    /* BAD */

           Simply not portable.  Get your lvalue to be of the right type, or
           maybe use temporary variables, or dirty tricks with unions.

       o   Assume anything about structs (especially the ones you don't
           control, like the ones coming from the system headers)

           o       That a certain field exists in a struct

           o       That no other fields exist besides the ones you know of

           o       That a field is of certain signedness, sizeof, or type

           o       That the fields are in a certain order

                   o       While C guarantees the ordering specified in the
                           struct definition, between different platforms the
                           definitions might differ

           o       That the sizeof(struct) or the alignments are the same

                   o       There might be padding bytes between the fields to
                           align the fields - the bytes can be anything

                   o       Structs are required to be aligned to the maximum
                           alignment required by the fields - which for native
                           types is for usually equivalent to sizeof() of the

       o   Assuming the character set is ASCIIish

           Perl can compile and run under EBCDIC platforms.  See perlebcdic.
           This is transparent for the most part, but because the character
           sets differ, you shouldn't use numeric (decimal, octal, nor hex)
           constants to refer to characters.  You can safely say 'A', but not
           0x41.  You can safely say '\n', but not "\012".  However, you can
           use macros defined in utf8.h to specify any code point portably.
           "LATIN1_TO_NATIVE(0xDF)" is going to be the code point that means
           LATIN SMALL LETTER SHARP S on whatever platform you are running on
           (on ASCII platforms it compiles without adding any extra code, so
           there is zero performance hit on those).  The acceptable inputs to
           "LATIN1_TO_NATIVE" are from 0x00 through 0xFF.  If your input isn't
           guaranteed to be in that range, use "UNICODE_TO_NATIVE" instead.
           "NATIVE_TO_LATIN1" and "NATIVE_TO_UNICODE" translate the opposite

           If you need the string representation of a character that doesn't
           have a mnemonic name in C, you should add it to the list in
           regen/, and have Perl create "#define"'s for
           you, based on the current platform.

           Note that the "isFOO" and "toFOO" macros in handy.h work properly
           on native code points and strings.

           Also, the range 'A' - 'Z' in ASCII is an unbroken sequence of 26
           upper case alphabetic characters.  That is not true in EBCDIC.  Nor
           for 'a' to 'z'.  But '0' - '9' is an unbroken range in both
           systems.  Don't assume anything about other ranges.  (Note that
           special handling of ranges in regular expression patterns and
           transliterations makes it appear to Perl code that the
           aforementioned ranges are all unbroken.)

           Many of the comments in the existing code ignore the possibility of
           EBCDIC, and may be wrong therefore, even if the code works.  This
           is actually a tribute to the successful transparent insertion of
           being able to handle EBCDIC without having to change pre-existing

           UTF-8 and UTF-EBCDIC are two different encodings used to represent
           Unicode code points as sequences of bytes.  Macros  with the same
           names (but different definitions) in utf8.h and utfebcdic.h are
           used to allow the calling code to think that there is only one such
           encoding.  This is almost always referred to as "utf8", but it
           means the EBCDIC version as well.  Again, comments in the code may
           well be wrong even if the code itself is right.  For example, the
           concept of UTF-8 "invariant characters" differs between ASCII and
           EBCDIC.  On ASCII platforms, only characters that do not have the
           high-order bit set (i.e.  whose ordinals are strict ASCII, 0 - 127)
           are invariant, and the documentation and comments in the code may
           assume that, often referring to something like, say, "hibit".  The
           situation differs and is not so simple on EBCDIC machines, but as
           long as the code itself uses the "NATIVE_IS_INVARIANT()" macro
           appropriately, it works, even if the comments are wrong.

           As noted in "TESTING" in perlhack, when writing test scripts, the
           file t/ contains some helpful functions for writing
           tests valid on both ASCII and EBCDIC platforms.  Sometimes, though,
           a test can't use a function and it's inconvenient to have different
           test versions depending on the platform.  There are 20 code points
           that are the same in all 4 character sets currently recognized by
           Perl (the 3 EBCDIC code pages plus ISO 8859-1 (ASCII/Latin1)).
           These can be used in such tests, though there is a small
           possibility that Perl will become available in yet another
           character set, breaking your test.  All but one of these code
           points are C0 control characters.  The most significant controls
           that are the same are "\0", "\r", and "\N{VT}" (also specifiable as
           "\cK", "\x0B", "\N{U+0B}", or "\013").  The single non-control is
           U+00B6 PILCROW SIGN.  The controls that are the same have the same
           bit pattern in all 4 character sets, regardless of the UTF8ness of
           the string containing them.  The bit pattern for U+B6 is the same
           in all 4 for non-UTF8 strings, but differs in each when its
           containing string is UTF-8 encoded.  The only other code points
           that have some sort of sameness across all 4 character sets are the
           pair 0xDC and 0xFC.  Together these represent upper- and lowercase
           LATIN LETTER U WITH DIAERESIS, but which is upper and which is
           lower may be reversed: 0xDC is the capital in Latin1 and 0xFC is
           the small letter, while 0xFC is the capital in EBCDIC and 0xDC is
           the small one.  This factoid may be exploited in writing case
           insensitive tests that are the same across all 4 character sets.

       o   Assuming the character set is just ASCII

           ASCII is a 7 bit encoding, but bytes have 8 bits in them.  The 128
           extra characters have different meanings depending on the locale.
           Absent a locale, currently these extra characters are generally
           considered to be unassigned, and this has presented some problems.
           This has being changed starting in 5.12 so that these characters
           can be considered to be Latin-1 (ISO-8859-1).

       o   Mixing #define and #ifdef

             #define BURGLE(x) ... \
             #ifdef BURGLE_OLD_STYLE        /* BAD */
             ... do it the old way ... \
             ... do it the new way ... \

           You cannot portably "stack" cpp directives.  For example in the
           above you need two separate BURGLE() #defines, one for each #ifdef

       o   Adding non-comment stuff after #endif or #else

             #ifdef SNOSH
             #else !SNOSH    /* BAD */
             #endif SNOSH    /* BAD */

           The #endif and #else cannot portably have anything non-comment
           after them.  If you want to document what is going (which is a good
           idea especially if the branches are long), use (C) comments:

             #ifdef SNOSH
             #else /* !SNOSH */
             #endif /* SNOSH */

           The gcc option "-Wendif-labels" warns about the bad variant (by
           default on starting from Perl 5.9.4).

       o   Having a comma after the last element of an enum list

             enum color {
               CINNABAR,     /* BAD */

           is not portable.  Leave out the last comma.

           Also note that whether enums are implicitly morphable to ints
           varies between compilers, you might need to (int).

       o   Using //-comments

             // This function bamfoodles the zorklator.   /* BAD */

           That is C99 or C++.  Perl is C89.  Using the //-comments is
           silently allowed by many C compilers but cranking up the ANSI C89
           strictness (which we like to do) causes the compilation to fail.

       o   Mixing declarations and code

             void zorklator()
               int n = 3;
               set_zorkmids(n);    /* BAD */
               int q = 4;

           That is C99 or C++.  Some C compilers allow that, but you

           The gcc option "-Wdeclaration-after-statement" scans for such
           problems (by default on starting from Perl 5.9.4).

       o   Introducing variables inside for()

             for(int i = ...; ...; ...) {    /* BAD */

           That is C99 or C++.  While it would indeed be awfully nice to have
           that also in C89, to limit the scope of the loop variable, alas, we

       o   Mixing signed char pointers with unsigned char pointers

             int foo(char *s) { ... }
             unsigned char *t = ...; /* Or U8* t = ... */
             foo(t);   /* BAD */

           While this is legal practice, it is certainly dubious, and
           downright fatal in at least one platform: for example VMS cc
           considers this a fatal error.  One cause for people often making
           this mistake is that a "naked char" and therefore dereferencing a
           "naked char pointer" have an undefined signedness: it depends on
           the compiler and the flags of the compiler and the underlying
           platform whether the result is signed or unsigned.  For this very
           same reason using a 'char' as an array index is bad.

       o   Macros that have string constants and their arguments as substrings
           of the string constants

             #define FOO(n) printf("number = %d\n", n)    /* BAD */

           Pre-ANSI semantics for that was equivalent to

             printf("10umber = %d\10");

           which is probably not what you were expecting.  Unfortunately at
           least one reasonably common and modern C compiler does "real
           backward compatibility" here, in AIX that is what still happens
           even though the rest of the AIX compiler is very happily C89.

       o   Using printf formats for non-basic C types

              IV i = ...;
              printf("i = %d\n", i);    /* BAD */

           While this might by accident work in some platform (where IV
           happens to be an "int"), in general it cannot.  IV might be
           something larger.  Even worse the situation is with more specific
           types (defined by Perl's configuration step in config.h):

              Uid_t who = ...;
              printf("who = %d\n", who);    /* BAD */

           The problem here is that Uid_t might be not only not "int"-wide but
           it might also be unsigned, in which case large uids would be
           printed as negative values.

           There is no simple solution to this because of printf()'s limited
           intelligence, but for many types the right format is available as
           with either 'f' or '_f' suffix, for example:

              IVdf /* IV in decimal */
              UVxf /* UV is hexadecimal */

              printf("i = %"IVdf"\n", i); /* The IVdf is a string constant. */

              Uid_t_f /* Uid_t in decimal */

              printf("who = %"Uid_t_f"\n", who);

           Or you can try casting to a "wide enough" type:

              printf("i = %"IVdf"\n", (IV)something_very_small_and_signed);

           See "Formatted Printing of Size_t and SSize_t" in perlguts for how
           to print those.

           Also remember that the %p format really does require a void

              U8* p = ...;
              printf("p = %p\n", (void*)p);

           The gcc option "-Wformat" scans for such problems.

       o   Blindly using variadic macros

           gcc has had them for a while with its own syntax, and C99 brought
           them with a standardized syntax.  Don't use the former, and use the
           latter only if the HAS_C99_VARIADIC_MACROS is defined.

       o   Blindly passing va_list

           Not all platforms support passing va_list to further varargs
           (stdarg) functions.  The right thing to do is to copy the va_list
           using the Perl_va_copy() if the NEED_VA_COPY is defined.

       o   Using gcc statement expressions

              val = ({...;...;...});    /* BAD */

           While a nice extension, it's not portable.  The Perl code does
           admittedly use them if available to gain some extra speed
           (essentially as a funky form of inlining), but you shouldn't.

       o   Binding together several statements in a macro

           Use the macros STMT_START and STMT_END.

              STMT_START {
              } STMT_END

       o   Testing for operating systems or versions when should be testing
           for features

             #ifdef __FOONIX__    /* BAD */
             foo = quux();

           Unless you know with 100% certainty that quux() is only ever
           available for the "Foonix" operating system and that is available
           and correctly working for all past, present, and future versions of
           "Foonix", the above is very wrong.  This is more correct (though
           still not perfect, because the below is a compile-time check):

             #ifdef HAS_QUUX
             foo = quux();

           How does the HAS_QUUX become defined where it needs to be?  Well,
           if Foonix happens to be Unixy enough to be able to run the
           Configure script, and Configure has been taught about detecting and
           testing quux(), the HAS_QUUX will be correctly defined.  In other
           platforms, the corresponding configuration step will hopefully do
           the same.

           In a pinch, if you cannot wait for Configure to be educated, or if
           you have a good hunch of where quux() might be available, you can
           temporarily try the following:

             #if (defined(__FOONIX__) || defined(__BARNIX__))
             # define HAS_QUUX


             #ifdef HAS_QUUX
             foo = quux();

           But in any case, try to keep the features and operating systems

           A good resource on the predefined macros for various operating
           systems, compilers, and so forth is

       o   Assuming the contents of static memory pointed to by the return
           values of Perl wrappers for C library functions doesn't change.
           Many C library functions return pointers to static storage that can
           be overwritten by subsequent calls to the same or related
           functions.  Perl has light-weight wrappers for some of these
           functions, and which don't make copies of the static memory.  A
           good example is the interface to the environment variables that are
           in effect for the program.  Perl has "PerlEnv_getenv" to get values
           from the environment.  But the return is a pointer to static memory
           in the C library.  If you are using the value to immediately test
           for something, that's fine, but if you save the value and expect it
           to be unchanged by later processing, you would be wrong, but
           perhaps you wouldn't know it because different C library
           implementations behave differently, and the one on the platform
           you're testing on might work for your situation.  But on some
           platforms, a subsequent call to "PerlEnv_getenv" or related
           function WILL overwrite the memory that your first call points to.
           This has led to some hard-to-debug problems.  Do a "savepv" in
           perlapi to make a copy, thus avoiding these problems.  You will
           have to free the copy when you're done to avoid memory leaks.  If
           you don't have control over when it gets freed, you'll need to make
           the copy in a mortal scalar, like so:

            if ((s = PerlEnv_getenv("foo") == NULL) {
               ... /* handle NULL case */
            else {
                s = SvPVX(sv_2mortal(newSVpv(s, 0)));

           The above example works only if "s" is "NUL"-terminated; otherwise
           you have to pass its length to "newSVpv".

   Problematic System Interfaces
       o   Perl strings are NOT the same as C strings:  They may contain "NUL"
           characters, whereas a C string is terminated by the first "NUL".
           That is why Perl API functions that deal with strings generally
           take a pointer to the first byte and either a length or a pointer
           to the byte just beyond the final one.

           And this is the reason that many of the C library string handling
           functions should not be used.  They don't cope with the full
           generality of Perl strings.  It may be that your test cases don't
           have embedded "NUL"s, and so the tests pass, whereas there may well
           eventually arise real-world cases where they fail.  A lesson here
           is to include "NUL"s in your tests.  Now it's fairly rare in most
           real world cases to get "NUL"s, so your code may seem to work,
           until one day a "NUL" comes along.

           Here's an example.  It used to be a common paradigm, for decades,
           in the perl core to use "strchr("list", c)" to see if the character
           "c" is any of the ones given in "list", a double-quote-enclosed
           string of the set of characters that we are seeing if "c" is one
           of.  As long as "c" isn't a "NUL", it works.  But when "c" is a
           "NUL", "strchr" returns a pointer to the terminating "NUL" in
           "list".   This likely will result in a segfault or a security issue
           when the caller uses that end pointer as the starting point to read

           A solution to this and many similar issues is to use the "mem"-foo
           C library functions instead.  In this case "memchr" can be used to
           see if "c" is in "list" and works even if "c" is "NUL".  These
           functions need an additional parameter to give the string length.
           In the case of literal string parameters, perl has defined macros
           that calculate the length for you.  See "String Handling" in

       o   malloc(0), realloc(0), calloc(0, 0) are non-portable.  To be
           portable allocate at least one byte.  (In general you should rarely
           need to work at this low level, but instead use the various malloc

       o   snprintf() - the return type is unportable.  Use my_snprintf()

   Security problems
       Last but not least, here are various tips for safer coding.  See also
       perlclib for libc/stdio replacements one should use.

       o   Do not use gets()

           Or we will publicly ridicule you.  Seriously.

       o   Do not use tmpfile()

           Use mkstemp() instead.

       o   Do not use strcpy() or strcat() or strncpy() or strncat()

           Use my_strlcpy() and my_strlcat() instead: they either use the
           native implementation, or Perl's own implementation (borrowed from
           the public domain implementation of INN).

       o   Do not use sprintf() or vsprintf()

           If you really want just plain byte strings, use my_snprintf() and
           my_vsnprintf() instead, which will try to use snprintf() and
           vsnprintf() if those safer APIs are available.  If you want
           something fancier than a plain byte string, use "Perl_form"() or
           SVs and "Perl_sv_catpvf()".

           Note that glibc "printf()", "sprintf()", etc. are buggy before
           glibc version 2.17.  They won't allow a "%.s" format with a
           precision to create a string that isn't valid UTF-8 if the current
           underlying locale of the program is UTF-8.  What happens is that
           the %s and its operand are simply skipped without any notice.

       o   Do not use atoi()

           Use grok_atoUV() instead.  atoi() has ill-defined behavior on
           overflows, and cannot be used for incremental parsing.  It is also
           affected by locale, which is bad.

       o   Do not use strtol() or strtoul()

           Use grok_atoUV() instead.  strtol() or strtoul() (or their
           IV/UV-friendly macro disguises, Strtol() and Strtoul(), or Atol()
           and Atoul() are affected by locale, which is bad.


       You can compile a special debugging version of Perl, which allows you
       to use the "-D" option of Perl to tell more about what Perl is doing.
       But sometimes there is no alternative than to dive in with a debugger,
       either to see the stack trace of a core dump (very useful in a bug
       report), or trying to figure out what went wrong before the core dump
       happened, or how did we end up having wrong or unexpected results.

   Poking at Perl
       To really poke around with Perl, you'll probably want to build Perl for
       debugging, like this:

           ./Configure -d -DDEBUGGING

       "-DDEBUGGING" turns on the C compiler's "-g" flag to have it produce
       debugging information which will allow us to step through a running
       program, and to see in which C function we are at (without the
       debugging information we might see only the numerical addresses of the
       functions, which is not very helpful). It will also turn on the
       "DEBUGGING" compilation symbol which enables all the internal debugging
       code in Perl.  There are a whole bunch of things you can debug with
       this: perlrun lists them all, and the best way to find out about them
       is to play about with them.  The most useful options are probably

           l  Context (loop) stack processing
           s  Stack snapshots (with v, displays all stacks)
           t  Trace execution
           o  Method and overloading resolution
           c  String/numeric conversions

       For example

           $ perl -Dst -e '$a + 1'
           (-e:1)      gvsv(main::a)
               =>  UNDEF
           (-e:1)      const(IV(1))
               =>  UNDEF  IV(1)
           (-e:1)      add
               =>  NV(1)

       Some of the functionality of the debugging code can be achieved with a
       non-debugging perl by using XS modules:

           -Dr => use re 'debug'
           -Dx => use O 'Debug'

   Using a source-level debugger
       If the debugging output of "-D" doesn't help you, it's time to step
       through perl's execution with a source-level debugger.

       o  We'll use "gdb" for our examples here; the principles will apply to
          any debugger (many vendors call their debugger "dbx"), but check the
          manual of the one you're using.

       To fire up the debugger, type

           gdb ./perl

       Or if you have a core dump:

           gdb ./perl core

       You'll want to do that in your Perl source tree so the debugger can
       read the source code.  You should see the copyright message, followed
       by the prompt.


       "help" will get you into the documentation, but here are the most
       useful commands:

       o  run [args]

          Run the program with the given arguments.

       o  break function_name

       o  break source.c:xxx

          Tells the debugger that we'll want to pause execution when we reach
          either the named function (but see "Internal Functions" in
          perlguts!) or the given line in the named source file.

       o  step

          Steps through the program a line at a time.

       o  next

          Steps through the program a line at a time, without descending into

       o  continue

          Run until the next breakpoint.

       o  finish

          Run until the end of the current function, then stop again.

       o  'enter'

          Just pressing Enter will do the most recent operation again - it's a
          blessing when stepping through miles of source code.

       o  ptype

          Prints the C definition of the argument given.

            (gdb) ptype PL_op
            type = struct op {
                OP *op_next;
                OP *op_sibparent;
                OP *(*op_ppaddr)(void);
                PADOFFSET op_targ;
                unsigned int op_type : 9;
                unsigned int op_opt : 1;
                unsigned int op_slabbed : 1;
                unsigned int op_savefree : 1;
                unsigned int op_static : 1;
                unsigned int op_folded : 1;
                unsigned int op_spare : 2;
                U8 op_flags;
                U8 op_private;
            } *

       o  print

          Execute the given C code and print its results.  WARNING: Perl makes
          heavy use of macros, and gdb does not necessarily support macros
          (see later "gdb macro support").  You'll have to substitute them
          yourself, or to invoke cpp on the source code files (see "The .i
          Targets") So, for instance, you can't say

              print SvPV_nolen(sv)

          but you have to say

              print Perl_sv_2pv_nolen(sv)

       You may find it helpful to have a "macro dictionary", which you can
       produce by saying "cpp -dM perl.c | sort".  Even then, cpp won't
       recursively apply those macros for you.

   gdb macro support
       Recent versions of gdb have fairly good macro support, but in order to
       use it you'll need to compile perl with macro definitions included in
       the debugging information.  Using gcc version 3.1, this means
       configuring with "-Doptimize=-g3".  Other compilers might use a
       different switch (if they support debugging macros at all).

   Dumping Perl Data Structures
       One way to get around this macro hell is to use the dumping functions
       in dump.c; these work a little like an internal Devel::Peek, but they
       also cover OPs and other structures that you can't get at from Perl.
       Let's take an example.  We'll use the "$a = $b + $c" we used before,
       but give it a bit of context: "$b = "6XXXX"; $c = 2.3;".  Where's a
       good place to stop and poke around?

       What about "pp_add", the function we examined earlier to implement the
       "+" operator:

           (gdb) break Perl_pp_add
           Breakpoint 1 at 0x46249f: file pp_hot.c, line 309.

       Notice we use "Perl_pp_add" and not "pp_add" - see "Internal Functions"
       in perlguts.  With the breakpoint in place, we can run our program:

           (gdb) run -e '$b = "6XXXX"; $c = 2.3; $a = $b + $c'

       Lots of junk will go past as gdb reads in the relevant source files and
       libraries, and then:

           Breakpoint 1, Perl_pp_add () at pp_hot.c:309
           1396    dSP; dATARGET; bool useleft; SV *svl, *svr;
           (gdb) step
           311           dPOPTOPnnrl_ul;

       We looked at this bit of code before, and we said that "dPOPTOPnnrl_ul"
       arranges for two "NV"s to be placed into "left" and "right" - let's
       slightly expand it:

        #define dPOPTOPnnrl_ul  NV right = POPn; \
                                SV *leftsv = TOPs; \
                                NV left = USE_LEFT(leftsv) ? SvNV(leftsv) : 0.0

       "POPn" takes the SV from the top of the stack and obtains its NV either
       directly (if "SvNOK" is set) or by calling the "sv_2nv" function.
       "TOPs" takes the next SV from the top of the stack - yes, "POPn" uses
       "TOPs" - but doesn't remove it.  We then use "SvNV" to get the NV from
       "leftsv" in the same way as before - yes, "POPn" uses "SvNV".

       Since we don't have an NV for $b, we'll have to use "sv_2nv" to convert
       it.  If we step again, we'll find ourselves there:

           (gdb) step
           Perl_sv_2nv (sv=0xa0675d0) at sv.c:1669
           1669        if (!sv)

       We can now use "Perl_sv_dump" to investigate the SV:

           (gdb) print Perl_sv_dump(sv)
           SV = PV(0xa057cc0) at 0xa0675d0
           REFCNT = 1
           FLAGS = (POK,pPOK)
           PV = 0xa06a510 "6XXXX"\0
           CUR = 5
           LEN = 6
           $1 = void

       We know we're going to get 6 from this, so let's finish the subroutine:

           (gdb) finish
           Run till exit from #0  Perl_sv_2nv (sv=0xa0675d0) at sv.c:1671
           0x462669 in Perl_pp_add () at pp_hot.c:311
           311           dPOPTOPnnrl_ul;

       We can also dump out this op: the current op is always stored in
       "PL_op", and we can dump it with "Perl_op_dump".  This'll give us
       similar output to CPAN module B::Debug.

           (gdb) print Perl_op_dump(PL_op)
           13  TYPE = add  ===> 14
               TARG = 1
               FLAGS = (SCALAR,KIDS)
                   TYPE = null  ===> (12)
                     (was rv2sv)
                   FLAGS = (SCALAR,KIDS)
           11          TYPE = gvsv  ===> 12
                       FLAGS = (SCALAR)
                       GV = main::b

       # finish this later #

   Using gdb to look at specific parts of a program
       With the example above, you knew to look for "Perl_pp_add", but what if
       there were multiple calls to it all over the place, or you didn't know
       what the op was you were looking for?

       One way to do this is to inject a rare call somewhere near what you're
       looking for.  For example, you could add "study" before your method:


       And in gdb do:

           (gdb) break Perl_pp_study

       And then step until you hit what you're looking for.  This works well
       in a loop if you want to only break at certain iterations:

           for my $c (1..100) {
               study if $c == 50;

   Using gdb to look at what the parser/lexer are doing
       If you want to see what perl is doing when parsing/lexing your code,
       you can use "BEGIN {}":

           print "Before\n";
           BEGIN { study; }
           print "After\n";

       And in gdb:

           (gdb) break Perl_pp_study

       If you want to see what the parser/lexer is doing inside of "if" blocks
       and the like you need to be a little trickier:

           if ($a && $b && do { BEGIN { study } 1 } && $c) { ... }


       Various tools exist for analysing C source code statically, as opposed
       to dynamically, that is, without executing the code.  It is possible to
       detect resource leaks, undefined behaviour, type mismatches,
       portability problems, code paths that would cause illegal memory
       accesses, and other similar problems by just parsing the C code and
       looking at the resulting graph, what does it tell about the execution
       and data flows.  As a matter of fact, this is exactly how C compilers
       know to give warnings about dubious code.

       The good old C code quality inspector, "lint", is available in several
       platforms, but please be aware that there are several different
       implementations of it by different vendors, which means that the flags
       are not identical across different platforms.

       There is a "lint" target in Makefile, but you may have to diddle with
       the flags (see above).

       Coverity (<>) is a product similar to lint and
       as a testbed for their product they periodically check several open
       source projects, and they give out accounts to open source developers
       to the defect databases.

       There is Coverity setup for the perl5 project:

   HP-UX cadvise (Code Advisor)
       HP has a C/C++ static analyzer product for HP-UX caller Code Advisor.
       (Link not given here because the URL is horribly long and seems
       horribly unstable; use the search engine of your choice to find it.)
       The use of the "cadvise_cc" recipe with "Configure ...
       -Dcc=./cadvise_cc" (see cadvise "User Guide") is recommended; as is the
       use of "+wall".

   cpd (cut-and-paste detector)
       The cpd tool detects cut-and-paste coding.  If one instance of the cut-
       and-pasted code changes, all the other spots should probably be
       changed, too.  Therefore such code should probably be turned into a
       subroutine or a macro.

       cpd (<>) is part of the pmd project
       (<>).  pmd was originally written for static
       analysis of Java code, but later the cpd part of it was extended to
       parse also C and C++.

       Download the () from the SourceForge site, extract the
       pmd-X.Y.jar from it, and then run that on source code thusly:

         java -cp pmd-X.Y.jar net.sourceforge.pmd.cpd.CPD \
          --minimum-tokens 100 --files /some/where/src --language c > cpd.txt

       You may run into memory limits, in which case you should use the -Xmx

         java -Xmx512M ...

   gcc warnings
       Though much can be written about the inconsistency and coverage
       problems of gcc warnings (like "-Wall" not meaning "all the warnings",
       or some common portability problems not being covered by "-Wall", or
       "-ansi" and "-pedantic" both being a poorly defined collection of
       warnings, and so forth), gcc is still a useful tool in keeping our
       coding nose clean.

       The "-Wall" is by default on.

       The "-ansi" (and its sidekick, "-pedantic") would be nice to be on
       always, but unfortunately they are not safe on all platforms, they can
       for example cause fatal conflicts with the system headers (Solaris
       being a prime example).  If Configure "-Dgccansipedantic" is used, the
       "cflags" frontend selects "-ansi -pedantic" for the platforms where
       they are known to be safe.

       The following extra flags are added:

       o   "-Wendif-labels"

       o   "-Wextra"

       o   "-Wc++-compat"

       o   "-Wwrite-strings"

       o   "-Werror=declaration-after-statement"

       o   "-Werror=pointer-arith"

       The following flags would be nice to have but they would first need
       their own Augean stablemaster:

       o   "-Wshadow"

       o   "-Wstrict-prototypes"

       The "-Wtraditional" is another example of the annoying tendency of gcc
       to bundle a lot of warnings under one switch (it would be impossible to
       deploy in practice because it would complain a lot) but it does contain
       some warnings that would be beneficial to have available on their own,
       such as the warning about string constants inside macros containing the
       macro arguments: this behaved differently pre-ANSI than it does in
       ANSI, and some C compilers are still in transition, AIX being an

   Warnings of other C compilers
       Other C compilers (yes, there are other C compilers than gcc) often
       have their "strict ANSI" or "strict ANSI with some portability
       extensions" modes on, like for example the Sun Workshop has its "-Xa"
       mode on (though implicitly), or the DEC (these days, HP...) has its
       "-std1" mode on.


       NOTE 1: Running under older memory debuggers such as Purify, valgrind
       or Third Degree greatly slows down the execution: seconds become
       minutes, minutes become hours.  For example as of Perl 5.8.1, the
       ext/Encode/t/Unicode.t takes extraordinarily long to complete under
       e.g. Purify, Third Degree, and valgrind.  Under valgrind it takes more
       than six hours, even on a snappy computer.  The said test must be doing
       something that is quite unfriendly for memory debuggers.  If you don't
       feel like waiting, that you can simply kill away the perl process.
       Roughly valgrind slows down execution by factor 10, AddressSanitizer by
       factor 2.

       NOTE 2: To minimize the number of memory leak false alarms (see
       "PERL_DESTRUCT_LEVEL" for more information), you have to set the
       environment variable PERL_DESTRUCT_LEVEL to 2.  For example, like this:

           env PERL_DESTRUCT_LEVEL=2 valgrind ./perl -Ilib ...

       NOTE 3: There are known memory leaks when there are compile-time errors
       within eval or require, seeing "S_doeval" in the call stack is a good
       sign of these.  Fixing these leaks is non-trivial, unfortunately, but
       they must be fixed eventually.

       NOTE 4: DynaLoader will not clean up after itself completely unless
       Perl is built with the Configure option

       The valgrind tool can be used to find out both memory leaks and illegal
       heap memory accesses.  As of version 3.3.0, Valgrind only supports
       Linux on x86, x86-64 and PowerPC and Darwin (OS X) on x86 and x86-64.
       The special "test.valgrind" target can be used to run the tests under
       valgrind.  Found errors and memory leaks are logged in files named
       testfile.valgrind and by default output is displayed inline.

       Example usage:

           make test.valgrind

       Since valgrind adds significant overhead, tests will take much longer
       to run.  The valgrind tests support being run in parallel to help with

           TEST_JOBS=9 make test.valgrind

       Note that the above two invocations will be very verbose as reachable
       memory and leak-checking is enabled by default.  If you want to just
       see pure errors, try:

           VG_OPTS='-q --leak-check=no --show-reachable=no' TEST_JOBS=9 \
               make test.valgrind

       Valgrind also provides a cachegrind tool, invoked on perl as:

           VG_OPTS=--tool=cachegrind make test.valgrind

       As system libraries (most notably glibc) are also triggering errors,
       valgrind allows to suppress such errors using suppression files.  The
       default suppression file that comes with valgrind already catches a lot
       of them.  Some additional suppressions are defined in t/perl.supp.

       To get valgrind and for more information see


       AddressSanitizer ("ASan") consists of a compiler instrumentation module
       and a run-time "malloc" library. ASan is available for a variety of
       architectures, operating systems, and compilers (see project link
       below).  It checks for unsafe memory usage, such as use after free and
       buffer overflow conditions, and is fast enough that you can easily
       compile your debugging or optimized perl with it. Modern versions of
       ASan check for memory leaks by default on most platforms, otherwise
       (e.g. x86_64 OS X) this feature can be enabled via

       To build perl with AddressSanitizer, your Configure invocation should
       look like:

           sh Configure -des -Dcc=clang \
              -Accflags=-fsanitize=address -Aldflags=-fsanitize=address \
              -Alddlflags=-shared\ -fsanitize=address \

       where these arguments mean:

       o   -Dcc=clang

           This should be replaced by the full path to your clang executable
           if it is not in your path.

       o   -Accflags=-fsanitize=address

           Compile perl and extensions sources with AddressSanitizer.

       o   -Aldflags=-fsanitize=address

           Link the perl executable with AddressSanitizer.

       o   -Alddlflags=-shared\ -fsanitize=address

           Link dynamic extensions with AddressSanitizer.  You must manually
           specify "-shared" because using "-Alddlflags=-shared" will prevent
           Configure from setting a default value for "lddlflags", which
           usually contains "-shared" (at least on Linux).

       o   -fsanitize-blacklist=`pwd`/asan_ignore

           AddressSanitizer will ignore functions listed in the "asan_ignore"
           file. (This file should contain a short explanation of why each of
           the functions is listed.)

       See also <>.


       Depending on your platform there are various ways of profiling Perl.

       There are two commonly used techniques of profiling executables:
       statistical time-sampling and basic-block counting.

       The first method takes periodically samples of the CPU program counter,
       and since the program counter can be correlated with the code generated
       for functions, we get a statistical view of in which functions the
       program is spending its time.  The caveats are that very small/fast
       functions have lower probability of showing up in the profile, and that
       periodically interrupting the program (this is usually done rather
       frequently, in the scale of milliseconds) imposes an additional
       overhead that may skew the results.  The first problem can be
       alleviated by running the code for longer (in general this is a good
       idea for profiling), the second problem is usually kept in guard by the
       profiling tools themselves.

       The second method divides up the generated code into basic blocks.
       Basic blocks are sections of code that are entered only in the
       beginning and exited only at the end.  For example, a conditional jump
       starts a basic block.  Basic block profiling usually works by
       instrumenting the code by adding enter basic block #nnnn book-keeping
       code to the generated code.  During the execution of the code the basic
       block counters are then updated appropriately.  The caveat is that the
       added extra code can skew the results: again, the profiling tools
       usually try to factor their own effects out of the results.

   Gprof Profiling
       gprof is a profiling tool available in many Unix platforms which uses
       statistical time-sampling.  You can build a profiled version of perl by
       compiling using gcc with the flag "-pg".  Either edit or re-
       run Configure.  Running the profiled version of Perl will create an
       output file called gmon.out which contains the profiling data collected
       during the execution.

       quick hint:

           $ sh Configure -des -Dusedevel -Accflags='-pg' \
               -Aldflags='-pg' -Alddlflags='-pg -shared' \
               && make perl
           $ ./perl ... # creates gmon.out in current directory
           $ gprof ./perl > out
           $ less out

       (you probably need to add "-shared" to the <-Alddlflags> line until RT
       #118199 is resolved)

       The gprof tool can then display the collected data in various ways.
       Usually gprof understands the following options:

       o   -a

           Suppress statically defined functions from the profile.

       o   -b

           Suppress the verbose descriptions in the profile.

       o   -e routine

           Exclude the given routine and its descendants from the profile.

       o   -f routine

           Display only the given routine and its descendants in the profile.

       o   -s

           Generate a summary file called gmon.sum which then may be given to
           subsequent gprof runs to accumulate data over several runs.

       o   -z

           Display routines that have zero usage.

       For more detailed explanation of the available commands and output
       formats, see your own local documentation of gprof.

   GCC gcov Profiling
       basic block profiling is officially available in gcc 3.0 and later.
       You can build a profiled version of perl by compiling using gcc with
       the flags "-fprofile-arcs -ftest-coverage".  Either edit or
       re-run Configure.

       quick hint:

           $ sh Configure -des -Dusedevel -Doptimize='-g' \
               -Accflags='-fprofile-arcs -ftest-coverage' \
               -Aldflags='-fprofile-arcs -ftest-coverage' \
               -Alddlflags='-fprofile-arcs -ftest-coverage -shared' \
               && make perl
           $ rm -f regexec.c.gcov regexec.gcda
           $ ./perl ...
           $ gcov regexec.c
           $ less regexec.c.gcov

       (you probably need to add "-shared" to the <-Alddlflags> line until RT
       #118199 is resolved)

       Running the profiled version of Perl will cause profile output to be
       generated.  For each source file an accompanying .gcda file will be

       To display the results you use the gcov utility (which should be
       installed if you have gcc 3.0 or newer installed).  gcov is run on
       source code files, like this

           gcov sv.c

       which will cause sv.c.gcov to be created.  The .gcov files contain the
       source code annotated with relative frequencies of execution indicated
       by "#" markers.  If you want to generate .gcov files for all profiled
       object files, you can run something like this:

           for file in `find . -name \*.gcno`
           do sh -c "cd `dirname $file` && gcov `basename $file .gcno`"

       Useful options of gcov include "-b" which will summarise the basic
       block, branch, and function call coverage, and "-c" which instead of
       relative frequencies will use the actual counts.  For more information
       on the use of gcov and basic block profiling with gcc, see the latest
       GNU CC manual.  As of gcc 4.8, this is at


       If you want to run any of the tests yourself manually using e.g.
       valgrind, please note that by default perl does not explicitly cleanup
       all the memory it has allocated (such as global memory arenas) but
       instead lets the exit() of the whole program "take care" of such
       allocations, also known as "global destruction of objects".

       There is a way to tell perl to do complete cleanup: set the environment
       variable PERL_DESTRUCT_LEVEL to a non-zero value.  The t/TEST wrapper
       does set this to 2, and this is what you need to do too, if you don't
       want to see the "global leaks": For example, for running under valgrind

           env PERL_DESTRUCT_LEVEL=2 valgrind ./perl -Ilib t/foo/bar.t

       (Note: the mod_perl apache module uses also this environment variable
       for its own purposes and extended its semantics.  Refer to the mod_perl
       documentation for more information.  Also, spawned threads do the
       equivalent of setting this variable to the value 1.)

       If, at the end of a run you get the message N scalars leaked, you can
       recompile with "-DDEBUG_LEAKING_SCALARS", ("Configure
       -Accflags=-DDEBUG_LEAKING_SCALARS"), which will cause the addresses of
       all those leaked SVs to be dumped along with details as to where each
       SV was originally allocated.  This information is also displayed by
       Devel::Peek.  Note that the extra details recorded with each SV
       increases memory usage, so it shouldn't be used in production
       environments.  It also converts "new_SV()" from a macro into a real
       function, so you can use your favourite debugger to discover where
       those pesky SVs were allocated.

       If you see that you're leaking memory at runtime, but neither valgrind
       nor "-DDEBUG_LEAKING_SCALARS" will find anything, you're probably
       leaking SVs that are still reachable and will be properly cleaned up
       during destruction of the interpreter.  In such cases, using the "-Dm"
       switch can point you to the source of the leak.  If the executable was
       built with "-DDEBUG_LEAKING_SCALARS", "-Dm" will output SV allocations
       in addition to memory allocations.  Each SV allocation has a distinct
       serial number that will be written on creation and destruction of the
       SV.  So if you're executing the leaking code in a loop, you need to
       look for SVs that are created, but never destroyed between each cycle.
       If such an SV is found, set a conditional breakpoint within "new_SV()"
       and make it break only when "PL_sv_serial" is equal to the serial
       number of the leaking SV.  Then you will catch the interpreter in
       exactly the state where the leaking SV is allocated, which is
       sufficient in many cases to find the source of the leak.

       As "-Dm" is using the PerlIO layer for output, it will by itself
       allocate quite a bunch of SVs, which are hidden to avoid recursion.
       You can bypass the PerlIO layer if you use the SV logging provided by
       "-DPERL_MEM_LOG" instead.

       If compiled with "-DPERL_MEM_LOG" ("-Accflags=-DPERL_MEM_LOG"), both
       memory and SV allocations go through logging functions, which is handy
       for breakpoint setting.

       Unless "-DPERL_MEM_LOG_NOIMPL" ("-Accflags=-DPERL_MEM_LOG_NOIMPL") is
       also compiled, the logging functions read $ENV{PERL_MEM_LOG} to
       determine whether to log the event, and if so how:

           $ENV{PERL_MEM_LOG} =~ /m/           Log all memory ops
           $ENV{PERL_MEM_LOG} =~ /s/           Log all SV ops
           $ENV{PERL_MEM_LOG} =~ /t/           include timestamp in Log
           $ENV{PERL_MEM_LOG} =~ /^(\d+)/      write to FD given (default is 2)

       Memory logging is somewhat similar to "-Dm" but is independent of
       "-DDEBUGGING", and at a higher level; all uses of Newx(), Renew(), and
       Safefree() are logged with the caller's source code file and line
       number (and C function name, if supported by the C compiler).  In
       contrast, "-Dm" is directly at the point of "malloc()".  SV logging is

       Since the logging doesn't use PerlIO, all SV allocations are logged and
       no extra SV allocations are introduced by enabling the logging.  If
       compiled with "-DDEBUG_LEAKING_SCALARS", the serial number for each SV
       allocation is also logged.

   DDD over gdb
       Those debugging perl with the DDD frontend over gdb may find the
       following useful:

       You can extend the data conversion shortcuts menu, so for example you
       can display an SV's IV value with one click, without doing any typing.
       To do that simply edit ~/.ddd/init file and add after:

         ! Display shortcuts.
         Ddd*gdbDisplayShortcuts: \
         /t ()   // Convert to Bin\n\
         /d ()   // Convert to Dec\n\
         /x ()   // Convert to Hex\n\
         /o ()   // Convert to Oct(\n\

       the following two lines:

         ((XPV*) (())->sv_any )->xpv_pv  // 2pvx\n\
         ((XPVIV*) (())->sv_any )->xiv_iv // 2ivx

       so now you can do ivx and pvx lookups or you can plug there the sv_peek

         Perl_sv_peek(my_perl, (SV*)()) // sv_peek

       (The my_perl is for threaded builds.)  Just remember that every line,
       but the last one, should end with \n\

       Alternatively edit the init file interactively via: 3rd mouse button ->
       New Display -> Edit Menu

       Note: you can define up to 20 conversion shortcuts in the gdb section.

   C backtrace
       On some platforms Perl supports retrieving the C level backtrace
       (similar to what symbolic debuggers like gdb do).

       The backtrace returns the stack trace of the C call frames, with the
       symbol names (function names), the object names (like "perl"), and if
       it can, also the source code locations (file:line).

       The supported platforms are Linux, and OS X (some *BSD might work at
       least partly, but they have not yet been tested).

       This feature hasn't been tested with multiple threads, but it will only
       show the backtrace of the thread doing the backtracing.

       The feature needs to be enabled with "Configure -Dusecbacktrace".

       The "-Dusecbacktrace" also enables keeping the debug information when
       compiling/linking (often: "-g").  Many compilers/linkers do support
       having both optimization and keeping the debug information.  The debug
       information is needed for the symbol names and the source locations.

       Static functions might not be visible for the backtrace.

       Source code locations, even if available, can often be missing or
       misleading if the compiler has e.g. inlined code.  Optimizer can make
       matching the source code and the object code quite challenging.

           You must have the BFD (-lbfd) library installed, otherwise "perl"
           will fail to link.  The BFD is usually distributed as part of the
           GNU binutils.

           Summary: "Configure ... -Dusecbacktrace" and you need "-lbfd".

       OS X
           The source code locations are supported only if you have the
           Developer Tools installed.  (BFD is not needed.)

           Summary: "Configure ... -Dusecbacktrace" and installing the
           Developer Tools would be good.

       Optionally, for trying out the feature, you may want to enable
       automatic dumping of the backtrace just before a warning or croak (die)
       message is emitted, by adding "-Accflags=-DUSE_C_BACKTRACE_ON_ERROR"
       for Configure.

       Unless the above additional feature is enabled, nothing about the
       backtrace functionality is visible, except for the Perl/XS level.

       Furthermore, even if you have enabled this feature to be compiled, you
       need to enable it in runtime with an environment variable:
       "PERL_C_BACKTRACE_ON_ERROR=10".  It must be an integer higher than
       zero, telling the desired frame count.

       Retrieving the backtrace from Perl level (using for example an XS
       extension) would be much less exciting than one would hope: normally
       you would see "runops", "entersub", and not much else.  This API is
       intended to be called from within the Perl implementation, not from
       Perl level execution.

       The C API for the backtrace is as follows:


       If you see in a debugger a memory area mysteriously full of 0xABABABAB
       or 0xEFEFEFEF, you may be seeing the effect of the Poison() macros, see

   Read-only optrees
       Under ithreads the optree is read only.  If you want to enforce this,
       to check for write accesses from buggy code, compile with
       "-Accflags=-DPERL_DEBUG_READONLY_OPS" to enable code that allocates op
       memory via "mmap", and sets it read-only when it is attached to a
       subroutine.  Any write access to an op results in a "SIGBUS" and abort.

       This code is intended for development only, and may not be portable
       even to all Unix variants.  Also, it is an 80% solution, in that it
       isn't able to make all ops read only.  Specifically it does not apply
       to op slabs belonging to "BEGIN" blocks.

       However, as an 80% solution it is still effective, as it has caught
       bugs in the past.

   When is a bool not a bool?
       On pre-C99 compilers, "bool" is defined as equivalent to "char".
       Consequently assignment of any larger type to a "bool" is unsafe and
       may be truncated.  The "cBOOL" macro exists to cast it correctly; you
       may also find that using it is shorter and clearer than writing out the
       equivalent conditional expression longhand.

       On those platforms and compilers where "bool" really is a boolean (C++,
       C99), it is easy to forget the cast.  You can force "bool" to be a
       "char" by compiling with "-Accflags=-DPERL_BOOL_AS_CHAR".  You may also
       wish to run "Configure" with something like

           -Accflags='-Wconversion -Wno-sign-conversion -Wno-shorten-64-to-32'

       or your compiler's equivalent to make it easier to spot any unsafe
       truncations that show up.

       The "TRUE" and "FALSE" macros are available for situations where using
       them would clarify intent. (But they always just mean the same as the
       integers 1 and 0 regardless, so using them isn't compulsory.)

   The .i Targets
       You can expand the macros in a foo.c file by saying

           make foo.i

       which will expand the macros using cpp.  Don't be scared by the


       This document was originally written by Nathan Torkington, and is
       maintained by the perl5-porters mailing list.

perl v5.34.0                      2020-10-04                 PERLHACKTIPS(1pm)

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