Shauna Shauna - 1 year ago 80
PHP Question

gd-png cannot allocate image data

I have an old code base that makes extensive use of GD (no, switching to imagemagick is not an option). It's been running for several years, through several versions. However, when I run it in my current development environment, I'm running into a mysterious gd-png error: cannot allocate image data errors when calling

. The PNG file I'm using is the same as I've been using, so I know it works.

Current setup:

Ansible-provisioned vagrant box
Ubuntu 14.04
PHP 5.5.9
GD 2.1.1
libPNG 1.2.50

PHP's memory limit at the time the script is run is 650M, though it's ultimately the kernel itself that ends up killing the script, and changing PHP's memory limit doesn't seem to have an effect.

The image dimensions are 7200x6600 and are about 500KiB on disk. This hasn't been a problem in my other environments and is only newly-occurring in my development environment. Unfortunately, I don't have access to the other environments anymore to do a comparison, though the setup was similar in the last working one -- Ubuntu 14.04, PHP 5.5, sufficient memory allocations.

What could be happening in this setup that wasn't happening in my previous setups? How can I fix this?

Answer Source

I was browsing a bit through the PHP 5.5.9 source to try and find your specific error string "cannot allocate image data", but the closest I could find is "gd-png error: cannot allocate gdImage struct". The bundled version of GD for PHP 5.5.9 (all the way up to 7.0.0) is version 2.0.35, so it seems you're looking at a custom build(?). Bugging the PHP guys might not help here.

Looking at the GD source (2.1.2, can't seem to find 2.1.1), the only place this error occurs is:

image_data = (png_bytep) gdMalloc (rowbytes * height);
if (!image_data) {
    gd_error("gd-png error: cannot allocate image data\n");
    png_destroy_read_struct (&png_ptr, &info_ptr, NULL);
    if (im) {
    if (palette_allocated) {
        gdFree (palette);
    return NULL;

Where gdMalloc is:

 void *
 gdMalloc (size_t size)
      return malloc (size);

I'm afraid this is as far as my detective work goes. As far as I can tell the bundled 2.0.35 GD versions in PHP also just use malloc, so at first glance there's no real difference there. I also tried to find some equivalent piece of code in the bundled versions, but so far I haven't found it and it seems to be here:

 image_data = (png_bytep) safe_emalloc(rowbytes, height, 0);

I can't seem to find safe_emalloc, but it seems the old PHP bundled versions did use a different memory allocation here than the version your environment uses. Perhaps your best bet is to check with the GD devs?. To avoid a merry goose chase, I think trying another environment is your best bet -after confirming they are indeed using a non-strandard GD version.

After some more PHP source safari, it seems safe_emalloc is used throughout all extensions, so I guess (guess mind you) that this is the preferred way to allocate memory for PHP extensions (looks like it). If your environment is in fact using an unaltered GD 2.1.1, it's likely it is ignoring any PHP memory settings/limits. You might be able to find some other way of specifying the ('stand-alone') GD memory limit?

Edit: Looking at the official libgd faq, near the bottom it states that the PHP extension should indeed respect the memory limit and it specifies that an 8000x8000 pixel image would take about 256MB, so your 650MB limit should really be enough (unless you're working with multiple copies in the same run?) and the fact that it's not working corroborates that something fishy is going on with the memory allocation.

Recommended from our users: Dynamic Network Monitoring from WhatsUp Gold from IPSwitch. Free Download