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informIT: User-Level Memory Management in Linux Programming

May 19, 2004, 06:00 (0 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by Arnold Robbins)

"Without memory for storing data, it's impossible for a program to get any work done. (Or rather, it's impossible to get any useful work done.) Real-world programs can't afford to rely on fixed-size buffers or arrays of data structures. They have to be able to handle inputs of varying sizes, from small to large. This in turn leads to the use of dynamically allocated memory—memory allocated at runtime instead of at compile time. This is how the GNU 'no arbitrary limits' principle is put into action.

"Because dynamically allocated memory is such a basic building block for real-world programs, we cover it early, before looking at everything else there is to do. Our discussion focuses exclusively on the user-level view of the process and its memory; it has nothing to do with CPU architecture..."

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