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pointers and Windows debugging

From: John Barstow <John_Barstow_at_gfsg.co.nz>
Date: 2003-01-07 00:40:15 CET

Two things I've been noticing in the code lately seem odd. Probably it's
just my background, but I feel somewhat disquieted by them.

1) Pointers are not initialized to NULL. This may not matter too much on
Unix, but on Windows, uninitialized pointers point to random locations in
memory. This makes debugging very painful and bugs very unpredictable -
especially since the problem is less pronounced in debug mode.

2) There are no asserts() or other debug-time checks of parameters. Maybe
this activity is being masked by macros, but I see pointers being passed,
then used, with no checks for NULL values. I don't expect a C program to be
doing runtime checks, but I do generally expect debug-time checks.

I know there have been bugs involving uninitialized ponters, if not as many
as I might expect. Is there a reason we don't do these things? If it's
just 'not enough time', I can create and submit some patches to address
this. If there's a deeper reason, or if I'm just missing something obvious,
then of course I defer to the people doing the bulk of the work.

John C Barstow

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Received on Tue Jan 7 00:34:53 2003

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