Make using compiled libs with debug code better

bauss jj_1337 at
Tue Oct 19 11:46:25 UTC 2021

On Monday, 18 October 2021 at 13:04:47 UTC, Steven Schveighoffer 
> I wrote about this in a reply to a learn thread, but realized I 
> should really post it here on its own.
> A user posted seemingly innocuous code that caused a 
> segmentation fault 
> [here](, and also asked about it on Discord. We worked through trying to figure out the issue, and it turns out it was a memory corruption (the seg fault was deep inside the garbage collector).
> But not one that I would have expected. It was an out-of-bounds 
> access passed into a 
> [std.bitmanip.BitArray](, which corrupted GC metadata, and caused a later allocation to fail. Like any reasonable array type, `BitArray` uses asserts to enforce bounds. And he did NOT turn off bounds checks.
> So what happened? Phobos is compiled in release mode, even if 
> *your code is not*. So bounds checks are disabled based on the 
> type.
> If `BitArray` was a template, it might have bounds checks 
> enabled. But maybe not, if the compiler detected it was already 
> instantiated inside Phobos and decided it didn't need to emit 
> the code for it. This kind of Russian Roulette seems prone to 
> cause hours of debugging when it could give you an answer 
> instantly.
> How do we fix such a thing? The easiest thing I can think of is 
> to ship an assert-enabled version of Phobos, and use that when 
> requested. This at least allows a quick mechanism to test your 
> code with bounds checks (and other asserts) enabled. LDC 
> actually already has this, see 
> (courtesy of Max Haughton)
> But this feels awkward. If you build your code with bounds 
> checks, you would like the libraries you use to have them also. 
> And a compiler switch isn't going to help you when you are 
> using other libs.
> Now consider that `BitArray`, being quite old, uses contracts 
> to enforce its bounds checks. However, D runs the contracts 
> inside the function itself, instead of at the call site. But 
> this seems wrong to me, as the contracts are checking the 
> *caller's* code, not the *callee's*.
> Would it be a reasonable thing to change contracts to be called 
> by the caller instead of the callee? Is that something that 
> could make its way into D, such that the input checking of 
> functions that are compiled for release still can run when you 
> compile your code in non-release mode?
> -Steve

In theory, this issue means that any code using Phobos is open to 
buffer overflows :)

Which is a huge problem for D, considering it has marketed itself 
as a language where it's (in theory again) impossible to have 
such problems.

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