Vaibhav Vaibhav - 7 months ago 38
C Question

Why is the use of alloca() not considered good practice?

allocates memory from Stack rather than heap which is case in
. So, when I return from the routine the memory is freed. So, actually this solves my problem of freeing up of dynamically allocated memory. Freeing of memory allocated through
is a major headache and if somehow missed leads to all sorts memory problems.

Why is the use of
discouraged in spite of the above features?


The answer is right there in the man page (at least on Linux):

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

Which isn't to say it should never be used. One of the OSS projects I work on uses it extensively, and as long as you're not abusing it (alloca'ing huge values), it's fine. Once you go past the "few hundred bytes" mark, it's time to use malloc and friends, instead. You may still get allocation failures, but at least you'll have some indication of the failure instead of just blowing out the stack.