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memalign.3

POSIX_MEMALIGN

Section: Linux Programmer's Manual (3)
Updated: 2009-03-30
Index Return to Main Contents
 

NAME

posix_memalign, memalign, valloc - Allocate aligned memory  

SYNOPSIS

#include <stdlib.h>

int posix_memalign(void **memptr, size_t alignment, size_t size);

#include <malloc.h>

void *valloc(size_t size);
void *memalign(size_t boundary, size_t size);

Feature Test Macro Requirements for glibc (see feature_test_macros(7)):

posix_memalign(): _POSIX_C_SOURCE >= 200112L || _XOPEN_SOURCE >= 600  

DESCRIPTION

The function posix_memalign() allocates size bytes and places the address of the allocated memory in *memptr. The address of the allocated memory will be a multiple of alignment, which must be a power of two and a multiple of sizeof(void *). If size is 0, then posix_memalign() returns either NULL, or a unique pointer value that can later be successfully passed to free().

The obsolete function memalign() allocates size bytes and returns a pointer to the allocated memory. The memory address will be a multiple of boundary, which must be a power of two.

The obsolete function valloc() allocates size bytes and returns a pointer to the allocated memory. The memory address will be a multiple of the page size. It is equivalent to memalign(sysconf(_SC_PAGESIZE),size).

For all three routines, the memory is not zeroed.  

RETURN VALUE

memalign() and valloc() return the pointer to the allocated memory, or NULL if the request fails.

posix_memalign() returns zero on success, or one of the error values listed in the next section on failure. Note that errno is not set.  

ERRORS

EINVAL
The alignment argument was not a power of two, or was not a multiple of sizeof(void *).
ENOMEM
There was insufficient memory to fulfill the allocation request.
 

VERSIONS

The functions memalign() and valloc() have been available in all Linux libc libraries. The function posix_memalign() is available since glibc 2.1.91.  

CONFORMING TO

The function valloc() appeared in 3.0BSD. It is documented as being obsolete in 4.3BSD, and as legacy in SUSv2. It does not appear in POSIX.1-2001. The function memalign() appears in SunOS 4.1.3 but not in 4.4BSD. The function posix_memalign() comes from POSIX.1d.  

Headers

Everybody agrees that posix_memalign() is declared in <stdlib.h>.

On some systems memalign() is declared in <stdlib.h> instead of <malloc.h>.

According to SUSv2, valloc() is declared in <stdlib.h>. Libc4,5 and glibc declare it in <malloc.h> and perhaps also in <stdlib.h> (namely, if _GNU_SOURCE is defined, or _BSD_SOURCE is defined, or, for glibc, if _XOPEN_SOURCE_EXTENDED is defined, or, equivalently, _XOPEN_SOURCE is defined to a value not less than 500).  

NOTES

On many systems there are alignment restrictions, for example, on buffers used for direct block device I/O. POSIX specifies the pathconf(path,_PC_REC_XFER_ALIGN) call that tells what alignment is needed. Now one can use posix_memalign() to satisfy this requirement.

posix_memalign() verifies that alignment matches the requirements detailed above. memalign() may not check that the boundary argument is correct.

POSIX requires that memory obtained from posix_memalign() can be freed using free(3). Some systems provide no way to reclaim memory allocated with memalign() or valloc() (because one can only pass to free(3) a pointer gotten from malloc(3), while, for example, memalign() would call malloc(3) and then align the obtained value). The glibc implementation allows memory obtained from any of these three routines to be reclaimed with free(3).

The glibc malloc(3) always returns 8-byte aligned memory addresses, so these routines are only needed if you require larger alignment values.  

SEE ALSO

brk(2), getpagesize(2), free(3), malloc(3)  

COLOPHON

This page is part of release 3.21 of the Linux man-pages project. A description of the project, and information about reporting bugs, can be found at http://www.kernel.org/doc/man-pages/.


 

Index

NAME
SYNOPSIS
DESCRIPTION
RETURN VALUE
ERRORS
VERSIONS
CONFORMING TO
Headers
NOTES
SEE ALSO
COLOPHON

 

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