Eliminating Data Races in Firefox – A Technical Report
We successfully deployed ThreadSanitizer in the Firefox project to eliminate data races in our remaining C/C++ components. In the process, we found several impactful bugs and can safely say that data races are often underestimated in terms of their impact on program correctness. We recommend that all multithreaded C/C++ projects adopt the ThreadSanitizer tool to enhance code quality.
ARM and Lock-Free Programming
This is intended to be a casual introduction to the perils of lock-free programming (which I last wrote about some fifteen years ago), but also some explanation of why ARM’s weak memory model breaks some code, and why that code was probably broken already. I also want to explain why C++11 made the lock-free situation strictly better (objections to the contrary notwithstanding).
Stupid std::tuple tricks: Getting started
C++ “move” semantics are simple, but they are still widely misunderstood. This post is an attempt to shed light on that situation.
I like that the appendix is 3 times the article’s length.
Speculative Load Hardening
While several approaches are being actively pursued to mitigate specific branches and/or loads inside especially risky software (most notably various OS kernels), these approaches require manual and/or static analysis aided auditing of code and explicit source changes to apply the mitigation. They are unlikely to scale well to large applications. We are proposing a comprehensive mitigation approach that would apply automatically across an entire program rather than through manual changes to the code. While this is likely to have a high performance cost, some applications may be in a good position to take this performance / security tradeoff.
Clang format tanks performance
Let’s benchmark toupper implementations.
Actually, I don’t really care about toupper much at all, but I was writing a different post and needed a peg to hang my narrative hat on, and hey toupper seems like a nice harmless benchmark. Despite my effort to choose something which should be totally straightforward and not sidetrack me, this weird thing popped out.
How can I have a C++ function that returns different types depending on what the caller wants?
AddressSanitizer (ASan) for Windows with MSVC
We are pleased to announce AddressSanitizer (ASan) support for the MSVC toolset. ASan is a fast memory error detector that can find runtime memory issues such as use-after-free and perform out of bounds checks. Support for sanitizers has been one of our more popular suggestions on Developer Community, and we can now say that we have an experience for ASan on Windows, in addition to our existing support for Linux projects.
MSVC support for ASan is available in our second Preview release of Visual Studio 2019 version 16.4.
Common Systems Programming Optimizations & Tricks
Today’s blog post is an overview of some common optimization techniques and neat tricks for doing “systems programming” – whatever that means today. We’ll walk through some methods to make your code run faster, be more efficient, and to squeeze just a little more juice from whatever you got.
No-one knows the type of char + char
What are “the usual arithmetic conversions”?
Detecting in C++ whether a type is defined
A quine that plays snake over its own source!
Modern C++ Won't Save Us
I would like to credit C++‘s smart pointer types, because they do significantly help. Unfortunately, my experience working on large C++ projects which use modern idioms is that these are not nearly sufficient to stop the flood of vulnerabilities. My goal for the remainder of this post is to highlight a number of completely modern C++ idioms which produce vulnerabilities.
Usability improvements in GCC 9
I work at Red Hat on GCC, the GNU Compiler Collection, and I spent most of the past year making GCC easier to use. Let’s look at C and C++ improvements that will be in the next major release of GCC, GCC 9.
C++ error messages that are slowly approaching useful...
Is C# a low-level language?
Specifically, what happens when translating a C++ raytracer and trying to make it fast.
I started by simply porting the un-obfuscated C++ code line-by-line to C#. Turns out that this was pretty straight forward, I guess the story about C# being C++++ is true after all!!
The std::map subscript operator is a convenience, but a potentially dangerous one
The  operator doesn’t know whether you’re going to read from or write to the result, so it has to come up with some sort of compromise. And sometimes the result of a compromise is something both sides dislike.
Modern LZ Compression
This article walks through the components of a modern LZ compressor.
LZ compression has been around for a long time, but there are still major improvements being made. The deflate algorithm is perhaps the most widely used, implemented initially in PKZIP, and these days finding broad usage in gzip. Modern incarnations are much more powerful, and use a wide array of new tricks. Two examples of the next generation are zstd and lzma. For a comprehensive overview of open source LZ compressors, check out lzbench.
Initialization in C++ is Seriously Bonkers
If you’re eager to learn all the -terrors- wonders of C++, you should first learn how to initialize your variables. All the same behaviors apply for C++ as in C for the previous code, with some caveats in the rules for those behaviors. C++-specific lingo will be italicized to emphasize when I’m not just arbitrarily naming things and to emphasize how many more…features…C++ has compared to C.
Tagged intro programming, but I don’t know.
"Modern" C++ Lamentations
This will be a long wall of text, and kinda random! My main points are:
1. C++ compile times are important,
2. Non-optimized build performance is important,
3. Cognitive load is important. I don’t expand much on this here, but if a programming language or a library makes me feel stupid, then I’m less likely to use it or like it. C++ does that a lot :)