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



NAME
       alloca - allocate memory that is automatically freed

SYNOPSIS
       #include <alloca.h>

       void *alloca(size_t size);

DESCRIPTION
       The  alloca()  function  allocates  size  bytes of space in the stack frame of the caller.
       This temporary space is automatically freed when the function that called alloca() returns
       to its caller.

RETURN VALUE
       The  alloca()  function returns a pointer to the beginning of the allocated space.  If the
       allocation causes stack overflow, program behavior is undefined.

CONFORMING TO
       This function is not in POSIX.1-2001.

       There is evidence that the alloca() function appeared in 32V, PWB, PWB.2, 3BSD, and  4BSD.
       There is a man page for it in 4.3BSD.  Linux uses the GNU version.

NOTES
       The  alloca()  function is machine- and compiler-dependent.  For certain applications, its
       use can improve efficiency compared to the use of  malloc(3)  plus  free(3).   In  certain
       cases,  it  can  also  simplify memory deallocation in applications that use longjmp(3) or
       siglongjmp(3).  Otherwise, its use is discouraged.

       Because the space allocated by alloca() is allocated within the stack frame, that space is
       automatically  freed if the function return is jumped over by a call to longjmp(3) or sig-
       longjmp(3).

       Do not attempt to free(3) space allocated by alloca()!

   Notes on the GNU version
       Normally, gcc(1) translates calls to alloca() with inlined code.  This is  not  done  when
       either  the  -ansi,  -std=c89,  -std=c99,  or  the -std=c11 option is given and the header
       <alloca.h> is not included.  Otherwise (without an -ansi or -std=c* option) the glibc ver-
       sion of <stdlib.h> includes <alloca.h> and that contains the lines:

           #ifdef  __GNUC__
           #define alloca(size)   __builtin_alloca (size)
           #endif

       with messy consequences if one has a private version of this function.

       The  fact that the code is inlined means that it is impossible to take the address of this
       function, or to change its behavior by linking with a different library.

       The inlined code often consists of a single instruction adjusting the stack  pointer,  and
       does not check for stack overflow.  Thus, there is no NULL error return.

BUGS
       There  is  no  error  indication if the stack frame cannot be extended.  (However, after a
       failed allocation, the program is likely to receive a SIGSEGV signal  if  it  attempts  to
       access the unallocated space.)

       On  many  systems alloca() cannot be used inside the list of arguments of a function call,
       because the stack space reserved by alloca() would appear on the stack in  the  middle  of
       the space for the function arguments.

SEE ALSO
       brk(2), longjmp(3), malloc(3)

COLOPHON
       This  page  is  part of release 3.53 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                                         2013-05-12                                  ALLOCA(3)


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