Safe, Efficient Garbage Collection for C++
John R. Ellis David L. Detlefs
Xerox PARC DEC Systems Research Center
3333 Coyote Hill Road 130 Lytton Ave.
Palo Alto, CA 94304 Palo Alto, CA 94302
We propose adding safe, efficient garbage collection to C++,
eliminating the possibility of storage-management bugs and making the
design of complex, object-oriented systems much easier. This can be
accomplished with almost no change to the language itself and only
small changes to existing implementations, while retaining
compatibility with existing class libraries.
Our proposal is the first to take a holistic, system-level approach,
integrating four technologies. The language interface specifies how
programmers access garbage collection through the language. An
optional safe subset of the language automatically enforces the
safe-use rules of garbage collection and precludes storage bugs. A
variety of collection algorithms are compatible with the language
interface, but some are easier to implement and more compatible with
existing C++ and C implementations. Finally, code-generator safety
ensures that compilers generate correct code for use with collectors.
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