Re: New C++ garbage collector

James Kanze <>
Mon, 1 Nov 2010 08:24:02 -0700 (PDT)
On Nov 1, 1:02 pm, Leigh Johnston <> wrote:

On 01/11/2010 12:07, James Kanze wrote:

If by "arbitrary lifetime" you mean the (totally obvious)
effect that GC object deallocation is non-deterministic

What on earth has that to do with anything? Given that garbage
collection has nothing to do with the lifetime of an object.
(It would help if you'd at least read the articles you respond

Arbirary lifetime means that the lifetime of the object depends
on some external event: a request to a server, a connection, the
state of hardware, a specific user interaction, etc. When that
event occurs, the object's lifetime must end. Regardless of
whether there is a shared_ptr floating around referring to it,
or anything else.


I would have thought you were less clueless and be able to acertain that
by "arbitrary lifetime" *I* was refering to the fact that one can have
multiple shared_ptr instances controlling the same object instead of
having one place in code to explicitly delete the controlled object.

Exactly. You no longer have arbitrary lifetime, you have
non-determistic lifetime. The object lifetime ends when the
last shared_ptr is destructed. Whenever that is... in all but
a few special cases, you really don't know (and the most common
reason for using shared_ptr is that you don't want to know).

The problem with shared_ptr (and delete in general, but you can
avoid it with delete if you have garbage collection installed)
is that memory allocation is strictly linked to object lifetime.
This is what you don't want; you don't want the memory
underlying the object to be recycled until the last pointer to
the object disappears, but you cannot use that as a criteria for
ending object lifetime; you must end the object lifetime even if
there are pointers to the object.

James Kanze

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