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Subject: Re: [Boost-users] double free when both shared library and executable linked to boost libraries
From: John Maddock (boost.regex_at_[hidden])
Date: 2015-01-06 03:55:14

>> So you can see, only when the main executable used static linking to
>> boost and the shared library used dynamic linking to boost is when I
>> saw the double free error at run time. My question is, why is the
>> error only triggered under that condition and what is the recommended
>> link configuration when using boost libraries for both a shared
>> library and an executable.
>> Ideally, the shared library plug-in should be free to use any boost
>> version with either static or dynamic linking, and it should be
>> independent from (i.e. not conflict with) the main executable's boost
>> version and link type. What compiler/link settings would be necessary
>> to achieve this, if it is even possible at all?
> Provided that Boost objects appear *nowhere* in the ABI of your library
> (safest is to ensure that none of your public header files ever #include
> or forward-reference anything from Boost), you should be safe
> static-linking on both sides, or even mixing things up like above.
> If Boost objects do appear in the ABI of your library, then you have to
> be more careful. The safest option is to dynamic link on both sides.
> (You may sometimes be able to get away with static linking on both sides
> depending on which libraries you're using, particularly when they're
> header-only, but it's still not a good idea.)

I meant to reply to this and forgot :-(

You don't say which Boost lib is causing the issue, but my guess it goes
something like this:

* You're using Boost.Regex (or a similar lib which frees resources on exit).
* When the pluggin is loaded, the link-loader resolves dependencies by
using the static version of the lib already present in the executable
rather than by loading the shared lib.
* When the pluggin is unloaded, it prematurely calls the libraries
cleanup routines.
* When the application exits, it calls the same routines again.

As Gavin says, there's only one safe option and that's either
all-dynamic or all static linking, mixing the two is a recipe for
problems like this - not just with Boost, but with any third party
library. I guess the problem is that you don't have control over the

There may be one other option - assuming this is Linux/GCC you could,
perhaps even *should* make all third party library symbols private by
compiling with -fvisibility=hidden. In fact if one or more Boost
libraries are not doing this anyway for the static lib builds, please
file a bug report!

HTH, John.

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