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NULL pointer errors are still common in Open Source software

Sep 24, 2009, 15:40 (11 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by Sean Michael Kerner)

[ Thanks to smk for this link. ]

"The problem with a NULL pointer deference is that a program is trying to access a memory location that doesn't exist. As such an application could potentially crash and in some cases be at risk from potential security exploits. The reason why Null Pointers continue to be common, speaks to the need of why there is a continuing need to scan code to eliminate errors.

""The use of pointers is very common and pointers are just difficult to get right for lots of different reasons," Andy Chou, CTO and co-founder of Coverity told "Developers often don't often keep track carefully of whether or not a point is NULL and as a result they make mistakes, because pointers are so common, the number of chances they have for making a mistake is also very high. So even if they only screw up a small percentage of the time the number of defects may still be large since they have so many opportunities to mess up.""

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