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MALLOC(3)                  Linux Programmer's Manual                 MALLOC(3)

       calloc, malloc, free, realloc - Allocate and free dynamic memory

       #include <&lt;stdlib.h>&gt;

       void *calloc(size_t nmemb, size_t size);
       void *malloc(size_t size);
       void free(void *ptr);
       void *realloc(void *ptr, size_t size);

       calloc()  allocates memory for an array of nmemb elements of size bytes
       each and returns a pointer to the allocated memory.  The memory is  set
       to  zero.  If nmemb or size is 0, then calloc() returns either NULL, or
       a unique pointer value that can later be successfully passed to free().

       malloc() allocates size bytes and returns a pointer  to  the  allocated
       memory.   The  memory  is  not  cleared.   If  size is 0, then malloc()
       returns either NULL, or a unique pointer value that can later  be  suc-
       cessfully passed to free().

       free()  frees  the memory space pointed to by ptr, which must have been
       returned by a previous call to malloc(), calloc() or realloc().  Other-
       wise,  or if free(ptr) has already been called before, undefined behav-
       ior occurs.  If ptr is NULL, no operation is performed.

       realloc() changes the size of the memory block pointed  to  by  ptr  to
       size  bytes.   The contents will be unchanged to the minimum of the old
       and new sizes; newly allocated memory will be uninitialized.  If ptr is
       NULL,  then  the  call is equivalent to malloc(size), for all values of
       size; if size is equal to zero, and ptr is not NULL, then the  call  is
       equivalent  to  free(ptr).   Unless  ptr  is  NULL,  it  must have been
       returned by an earlier call to malloc(), calloc() or realloc().  If the
       area pointed to was moved, a free(ptr) is done.

       For  calloc()  and  malloc(), return a pointer to the allocated memory,
       which is suitably aligned for any kind of variable.   On  error,  these
       functions  return NULL.  NULL may also be returned by a successful call
       to malloc() with a size of zero, or by a successful call  to  realloc()
       with nmemb or size equal to zero.

       free() returns no value.

       realloc()  returns  a  pointer  to the newly allocated memory, which is
       suitably aligned for any kind of variable and  may  be  different  from
       ptr, or NULL if the request fails.  If size was equal to 0, either NULL
       or a pointer suitable to be passed to free() is returned.  If realloc()
       fails the original block is left untouched; it is not freed or moved.

       C89, C99.

       Normally, malloc() allocates memory from the heap, and adjusts the size
       of the heap as required, using sbrk(2).  When allocating blocks of mem-
       ory larger than MMAP_THRESHOLD bytes, the glibc malloc() implementation
       allocates the memory as a  private  anonymous  mapping  using  mmap(2).
       MMAP_THRESHOLD  is  128  kB  by  default,  but is adjustable using mal-
       lopt(3).  Allocations performed using mmap(2)  are  unaffected  by  the
       RLIMIT_DATA resource limit (see getrlimit(2)).

       The  Unix98  standard requires malloc(), calloc(), and realloc() to set
       errno to ENOMEM upon failure.  Glibc assumes that this is done (and the
       glibc  versions of these routines do this); if you use a private malloc
       implementation that does not set errno, then certain  library  routines
       may fail without having a reason in errno.

       Crashes  in  malloc(), calloc(), realloc(), or free() are almost always
       related to heap corruption, such as overflowing an allocated  chunk  or
       freeing the same pointer twice.

       Recent  versions  of  Linux  libc  (later  than 5.4.23) and glibc (2.x)
       include a malloc() implementation  which  is  tunable  via  environment
       variables.   When  MALLOC_CHECK_  is  set,  a  special (less efficient)
       implementation is used which is designed to be tolerant against  simple
       errors, such as double calls of free() with the same argument, or over-
       runs of a single byte (off-by-one bugs).  Not all such  errors  can  be
       protected  against,  however,  and  memory  leaks  can result.  If MAL-
       LOC_CHECK_ is set to  0,  any  detected  heap  corruption  is  silently
       ignored; if set to 1, a diagnostic message is printed on stderr; if set
       to 2, abort(3) is called immediately; if set to 3, a diagnostic message
       is printed on stderr and the program is aborted.  Using a non-zero MAL-
       LOC_CHECK_ value can be useful because otherwise  a  crash  may  happen
       much  later,  and  the  true cause for the problem is then very hard to
       track down.

       By default, Linux follows an  optimistic  memory  allocation  strategy.
       This  means  that  when malloc() returns non-NULL there is no guarantee
       that the memory really is available.  This is a  really  bad  bug.   In
       case  it  turns  out that the system is out of memory, one or more pro-
       cesses will be killed by the infamous OOM killer.   In  case  Linux  is
       employed  under  circumstances where it would be less desirable to sud-
       denly lose some randomly picked processes, and moreover the kernel ver-
       sion  is  sufficiently  recent,  one can switch off this overcommitting
       behavior using a command like:

           # echo 2 > /proc/sys/vm/overcommit_memory

       See also  the  kernel  Documentation  directory,  files  vm/overcommit-
       accounting and sysctl/vm.txt.

       brk(2), mmap(2), alloca(3), posix_memalign(3)

       This  page  is  part of release 3.05 of the Linux man-pages project.  A
       description of the project, and information about reporting  bugs,  can
       be found at http://www.kernel.org/doc/man-pages/.

GNU                               2008-04-05                         MALLOC(3)