Would you like to replace any type specifications like
"unsigned long" by "size_t"?
Logged In: YES
Hard to say. size_t has a few problems:
* we don't know which function to call when passing an argument
* we don't know if it is signed, which makes address
The Felix configuration script does know of course.
In C, only operators are overloaded, so the main problem is
things like printf("%????",(size_t)n): no way to tell what
format code to use.
In C++ it is more serious, one might even end up with an
sort of thing (not sure if that one is ambiguous or not, but
you get the idea).
In both languages, the fact you don't know the sign of
size_t has devastating consequences for low level
calculations, since signed arithmetic isn't deterministic.
In practice this isn't so bad: we know 2's complement, and,
usually size_t is unsigned anyhow. But then, we also know
it's usually the same type as unsigned long -- since C++
technically doesn't actually have long long. Using 'unsigned
long' as a size is therefore reasonably safe and portable.
In Felix the problem is even worse, because in Felix there
are no implicit conversions. To use an alias like size_t you
would have to forcibly convert it to another type or provide
a combinatorial number of overloads. The latter is
untenable. The former defeats the purpose of size_t. In fact
the latest Felix supports mixed mode arithmetic using
constrained polymorphism, but that only works for binary
operators. The technique can be applied to user functions,
including models of C functions .. but it doesn't work for
Ok. Specifics: for frame_t, the whole struct is under
review. It uses up to 6 machine words, which and is 48 bytes
on an AMD64. This is the overhead paid for every heap
allocation .. it is much too high. In fact it is likely I
will reduce the size with low level hackery like packing
flags into unused bits of pointers .. rather than make it
The collector generally uses unsigned long for counting,
because it is hopefully big enough and a definite type, and
it may need to be exposed to Felix so the programmer can
control the GC.
This is all very messy. Felix tries to fix some of the
problems here, but the results are somewhat dubious. The
prefered model is actually exact sizes.. unfortunately that
makes binding to C/C++ hard.
Anyhow, the bottom line is that the choice of unsigned long
as a counter at the GC level is deliberate. It may the wrong
choice but it isn't an oversight.
Following discussions on comp.std.c++ most of the GC cannot
be fully conforming anyhow. C/C++ doesn't make enough
guarantees to write working code without additional
implementation specific details.
This impacts in many places. For example Felix array access
is given by:
fun subscript[T]: ptr[T] * int -> T = "$1[$2]";
Note the index is an 'int'. If I used instead
fun subscript[T]: ptr[T] * size -> T = "$1[$2]";
then subscript(a,0) may not work, because 0 is type int
and there are no automatic conversions. You'd have to write
or change the definition to use constrained generics:
fun subscript[I:ints, T]: ptr[T] * I -> T = "$1[$2]";
where 'ints' is the set of all integer types.
This is a new feature .. it allows C to do the implicit
conversions. But note of course it can't work with
pointers because it doesn't in C either.
The bottom line here is that Felix does NOT model the C/C++
type system directly .. because it sucks: the point is to
fix it. The lack of implicit conversions is one of those
things that are different to C++: overloads require an exact
match. Implicit conversions are widely regarded as a very
Unfortunately the use of type aliases (typedefs) in C is
predicated on availability of implicit conversions and
generic operators. The effect on C++ is bad. Some Standard
Library functions are misdesigned because of this: in particular
stream << T
doesn't work for polymorphic streams (because characters and
integers get mixed up unpredictably).
Logged In: YES
By the way: the signedness is clear. Please look at the
section "The sizeof operator".
(See also a paper by Randy Meyers:
I am curious how your type development will evolve.
"By the way: the signedness is clear. Please look at the
section "The sizeof operator".
Accepted, thanks. Heard other rumours .. typically the
Standard is sloppy in specifying things: this one is
probably historical (size_t was added after sizeof).
"I am curious how your type development will evolve."
Try it out then :) The type *system* is unrelated to low
level issues of integral types. None of the integral types
are part of the type system: they're ALL defined by the end
user in terms of C/C++. "Felix has no integers".
Felix does have a type *system*: a method for combining
types. It is based on ML, and Ocaml in particular, with
extensions .. so it should work out just fine.
The main hassle is interfacing to C/C++ type systems ..
since the latter are rather broken, and because Felix has
garbage collection. It looks a little like Microsoft's
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