Managing malloced memory

Steven Schveighoffer schveiguy at
Wed Oct 6 18:29:34 UTC 2021

On 10/6/21 2:06 PM, anon wrote:
> I interface to a C library that gives me a malloced object. How can I 
> manage that pointer so that it gets freed automatically.
> What I've thought of so far:
> * scope(exit): not an option because I want to return that memory
> * struct wrapper: Doesn't work because if I pass it to another function, 
> they also destroy it (sometimes). Also same problem as with scope(exit)
> * struct wrapped in automem/ refcounted: The struct still leaves 
> original scope and calls the destructor

If the memory is the only resource it is consuming, you can use a 
GC-allocated wrapper.

This is how I would do it:

struct GCWrapped(T)
    private T *_val;
    this(T* val) { _val = val; }
    ref T get() { return *_val; }
    alias get this; // automatically unwrap
    ~this() { free(_val); _val = null; }
    @disable this(this); // disable copying to avoid double-free

GCWrapped!T *wrap(T)(T *item) {
   return new GCWrapped!T(item);

// usage
auto wrapped = wrap(cFunction());

// use wrapped wherever you need to access a T.

You can return this thing and pass it around, and the GC will keep it 
alive until it's not needed. Then on collection, the value is freed.

If this contains a non-memory resource, such as a file or socket, then 
those are much more limited, and you probably want to use deterministic 
destruction instead.


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