Handling Zero-Sized Types

It's time. We're going to fight the specter that is zero-sized types. Safe Rust never needs to care about this, but Vec is very intensive on raw pointers and raw allocations, which are exactly the two things that care about zero-sized types. We need to be careful of two things:

  • The raw allocator API has undefined behavior if you pass in 0 for an allocation size.
  • raw pointer offsets are no-ops for zero-sized types, which will break our C-style pointer iterator.

Thankfully we abstracted out pointer-iterators and allocating handling into RawValIter and RawVec respectively. How mysteriously convenient.

Allocating Zero-Sized Types

So if the allocator API doesn't support zero-sized allocations, what on earth do we store as our allocation? Why, heap::EMPTY of course! Almost every operation with a ZST is a no-op since ZSTs have exactly one value, and therefore no state needs to be considered to store or load them. This actually extends to ptr::read and ptr::write: they won't actually look at the pointer at all. As such we never need to change the pointer.

Note however that our previous reliance on running out of memory before overflow is no longer valid with zero-sized types. We must explicitly guard against capacity overflow for zero-sized types.

Due to our current architecture, all this means is writing 3 guards, one in each method of RawVec.

impl<T> RawVec<T> {
    fn new() -> Self {
        unsafe {
            // !0 is usize::MAX. This branch should be stripped at compile time.
            let cap = if mem::size_of::<T>() == 0 { !0 } else { 0 };

            // heap::EMPTY doubles as "unallocated" and "zero-sized allocation"
            RawVec { ptr: Unique::new(heap::EMPTY as *mut T), cap: cap }
        }
    }

    fn grow(&mut self) {
        unsafe {
            let elem_size = mem::size_of::<T>();

            // since we set the capacity to usize::MAX when elem_size is
            // 0, getting to here necessarily means the Vec is overfull.
            assert!(elem_size != 0, "capacity overflow");

            let align = mem::align_of::<T>();

            let (new_cap, ptr) = if self.cap == 0 {
                let ptr = heap::allocate(elem_size, align);
                (1, ptr)
            } else {
                let new_cap = 2 * self.cap;
                let ptr = heap::reallocate(*self.ptr as *mut _,
                                            self.cap * elem_size,
                                            new_cap * elem_size,
                                            align);
                (new_cap, ptr)
            };

            // If allocate or reallocate fail, we'll get `null` back
            if ptr.is_null() { oom() }

            self.ptr = Unique::new(ptr as *mut _);
            self.cap = new_cap;
        }
    }
}

impl<T> Drop for RawVec<T> {
    fn drop(&mut self) {
        let elem_size = mem::size_of::<T>();

        // don't free zero-sized allocations, as they were never allocated.
        if self.cap != 0 && elem_size != 0 {
            let align = mem::align_of::<T>();

            let num_bytes = elem_size * self.cap;
            unsafe {
                heap::deallocate(*self.ptr as *mut _, num_bytes, align);
            }
        }
    }
}

That's it. We support pushing and popping zero-sized types now. Our iterators (that aren't provided by slice Deref) are still busted, though.

Iterating Zero-Sized Types

Zero-sized offsets are no-ops. This means that our current design will always initialize start and end as the same value, and our iterators will yield nothing. The current solution to this is to cast the pointers to integers, increment, and then cast them back:

impl<T> RawValIter<T> {
    unsafe fn new(slice: &[T]) -> Self {
        RawValIter {
            start: slice.as_ptr(),
            end: if mem::size_of::<T>() == 0 {
                ((slice.as_ptr() as usize) + slice.len()) as *const _
            } else if slice.len() == 0 {
                slice.as_ptr()
            } else {
                slice.as_ptr().offset(slice.len() as isize)
            }
        }
    }
}

Now we have a different bug. Instead of our iterators not running at all, our iterators now run forever. We need to do the same trick in our iterator impls. Also, our size_hint computation code will divide by 0 for ZSTs. Since we'll basically be treating the two pointers as if they point to bytes, we'll just map size 0 to divide by 1.

impl<T> Iterator for RawValIter<T> {
    type Item = T;
    fn next(&mut self) -> Option<T> {
        if self.start == self.end {
            None
        } else {
            unsafe {
                let result = ptr::read(self.start);
                self.start = if mem::size_of::<T>() == 0 {
                    (self.start as usize + 1) as *const _
                } else {
                    self.start.offset(1)
                };
                Some(result)
            }
        }
    }

    fn size_hint(&self) -> (usize, Option<usize>) {
        let elem_size = mem::size_of::<T>();
        let len = (self.end as usize - self.start as usize)
                  / if elem_size == 0 { 1 } else { elem_size };
        (len, Some(len))
    }
}

impl<T> DoubleEndedIterator for RawValIter<T> {
    fn next_back(&mut self) -> Option<T> {
        if self.start == self.end {
            None
        } else {
            unsafe {
                self.end = if mem::size_of::<T>() == 0 {
                    (self.end as usize - 1) as *const _
                } else {
                    self.end.offset(-1)
                };
                Some(ptr::read(self.end))
            }
        }
    }
}

And that's it. Iteration works!