Boost logo

Boost :

From: bill_kempf (williamkempf_at_[hidden])
Date: 2002-02-11 10:54:44

--- In boost_at_y..., "Peter Dimov" <pdimov_at_m...> wrote:
> From: "bill_kempf" <williamkempf_at_h...>
> > I'm unconvinced that weak_ptr<> is useful in a MT program.
> Who's trying to convince you otherwise? ;-)
> > At least
> > not if ANY of the pointers (shared_ptr<> or weak_ptr<>) are shared
> > across thread boundaries.
> More precisely, not if the last shared_ptr that owns the object may
> destroyed by a different thread.
> Shared and weak pointers are typically not shared between threads;
usually a
> copy is passed to the other thread.

Yes, that's actually what I had in mind. I did a very poor job of
describing it, though ;).

> Still, a weak pointer can be used safely in a multithreaded program
when (a)
> the object is owned by the same thread, i.e. there exists at least
> shared_ptr that is guaranteed to be destroyed by the current
thread, or (b)
> when the user locks appropriately.

Just having a shared_ptr<> that will be destroyed by the thread isn't
enough. That pointer can be destroyed before the weak_ptr<>s and put
you right back into the same situation where you can't tell if the
object has been destroyed (asynchronously) using the weak_ptr<>. So
to actually work this way the shared_ptr<> must not be destroyed
before the weak_ptr<>, but then most of the utility of weak_ptr<> is
removed. We might as well be using a raw pointer.

> > A redesign might help. If the weak_ptr<>'s only functionality was
> > conversion to a shared_ptr<> where you'd get a NULL shared_ptr<>
> > the object were gone, you wouldn't have the above problem.
> > it wouldn't be efficient either (and would be danged difficult to
> > implement).
> The usual choice. Is the user responsible for synchronization,
> performance, or is the implementation, yielding safety (at a price
that many
> would find unbearable.)

I'm likely just missing something, but I don't see how the user can
do the synchronization here. The "mutex" or other ref-counting
mechanisms are contained in an object that will be destroyed
asynchronously. Attempts to synchronize through the weak_ptr<>
instance have the same race condition as all other accesses. Unless
you plan to use a global synch object for all accesses, but that's
very inefficient.

> Unfortunately there is no portable "check if zero, increment only
if not
> zero, return the previous value" atomic operation AFAIK.

I'm not sure how such an operation would help.

Bill Kempf

Boost list run by bdawes at, gregod at, cpdaniel at, john at