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Jonathan M Davis via Digitalmars-d digitalmars-d at
Sun Nov 15 06:38:19 PST 2015

On Sunday, 15 November 2015 at 14:21:18 UTC, Dicebot wrote:
>> For instance, this code compiles and runs just fine.
>>     void main()
>>     {
>>         auto i = new immutable int(5);
>>         assert(*i == 5);
>>         auto j = cast(int*)i;
>>         *j = 42;
>>         assert(*i == 42);
>>     }
> AFAIK this is UB already (in practice), you will get different 
> results depending on compiler and optimization flags.

Oh, it's definitely undefined behavior. As far as the compiler is 
concerned, casting away either const or immutable means that it's 
up to _you_ to uphold the guarantee that they won't be mutated 
(whereas the compiler can guarantee it as long as you don't cast 
away const or immutable).

My point is that there's nothing actually stopping you from doing 
it, and you don't necessarily get a segfault or any other obvious 
problems when you do it. So, if the language were changed so that 
casting away const and mutating was defined behavior (at least as 
long as the underlying object is actually mutable), the only 
thing protecting folks against not accidentally casting away 
const on an object that is actually immutable is themselves. 
There is no compiler help, and the program will not necessarily 
blow up when you screw it up. So, you run a very real risk of 
introducing very subtle bugs into your programs with regards to 
immutable objects when you cast away const and mutate - even if 
the language is changed so that that is well-defined when the 
object is actually mutable.

At least with @mutable as Andrei proposed it, the compiler would 
be able to guarantee that an immutable object wasn't treated as 
mutable, even if it then allowed const references to mutate 
objects in a limited manner. So, while we'd lose out on the 
guarantee that const references could never mutate objects, at 
least that mutation would be limited and controlled with some 
compiler guarantees left intact, whereas making it well-defined 
to cast away const and mutate would be throwing pretty much all 
of the guarantees out the window (on top of being very 

- Jonathan M Davis

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