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I heared of systems that had the 0 address mapped, and were advocated
"see so easy, less segfaults". I consider it a horrible idea. If a
dereference of a 0 pointer occurs, something bad has happened. Just to
ignore it and go on as nothing has happened is plain evil. Being
accused of "religous motivation",I don't see how a static typed
language could work without null pointers. How would it cap linked
lists? It would need some sort of singleton as cap marker, not there
marker, etc. which would eventually boil down to the same as if it
would be 0.

On Wed, Feb 16, 2011 at 12:39 AM, Sean Conner <> wrote:
>        I call it my billion-dollar mistake. It was the invention of the
>        null reference in 1965. At that time, I was designing the first
>        comprehensive type system for references in an object oriented
>        language (ALGOL W). My goal was to ensure that all use of references
>        should be absolutely safe, with checking performed automatically by
>        the compiler. But I couldn't resist the temptation to put in a null
>        reference, simply because it was so easy to implement. This has led
>        to innumerable errors, vulnerabilities, and system crashes, which
>        have probably caused a billion dollars of pain and damage in the
>        last forty years.
>                --- C. A. R. Hoare
> It was thus said that the Great Axel Kittenberger once stated:
>> julien> -          It is the value given when we don’t know what else
>> to give (not
>> julien> defined, unknown value, an error occured, …)
>> Thank you a lot for bringing that up! In your list it has 3 meanings
>> already, including even an ellipsis for more! Thats whats likely the
>> cause the reappearing confusion around it.
>> I see what I've done here however. _Nobody_ was actually inspired by
>> the idea of non-nilness. I'm suprised that no-one pointed the "this
>> language you never heared of", that has non-nullable types and
>> non-null-pointers. BTW: what does fortran (in its many dialects use?)
>  I'm only slightly familiar with Fortran77, having used it briefly in '88
> or '89 (college course and I still have the text book) but there's no
> concept of NULL in Fortran77, which is understandable since you have to
> predeclare everything (including the sizes of all arrays) before you use it.
> Also given that you declare all variable types (by default, variables
> starting with I through N are of type integer, otherwise they're real) there
> is no concept of "undefined" or "unknown" (okay, there *may* be a NaN but I
> find no reference to such in the book I have).  Also, there is no concept of
> pointers in Fortran77, so there is also no concept of a NULL pointer.
>> I don't know what to make of it, either the idea is incredibly stupid
>> and a fallback or an anachronism for which we just yet fail to see its
>> virtue.
>  There's a program I came across [1] that allows on to map the
> address 0 in a Linux process.  The program allows for both reading and
> writing, but even just making the page(es) read-only makes for some
> interesting possibilities, but first, a bit of a digression---feel free to
> skip the next paragraph if it's too pedantic.
>  C states that a 0 in a pointer context, such as:" char *p = 0;" is to be
> converted to a NULL pointer, or an invalid address that cannot be
> referenced.  On *most* platforms, this address also happens to be 0, but it
> *can* be some other bit pattern that makes an invalid address (although I'm
> not aware of any CPU architecture that uses anything other an 0 for an
> invalid address; they can exist, I'm just not aware of any).  It just so
> happens that 0 tends to work across a wide range of modern computers these
> days.  So, assuming that address 0 *is also* an invalid address, we resume.
>  In C, strings are character arrays terminated by a 0 byte.  Assuming the
> memory at location 0 is also 0, then
>        strcmp(NULL,"") == 0
>        strlen(NULL) == 0
>        printf("%s",NULL) = ""
>  And, if you map enough memory at 0, with the contents of 0, to cover the
> size of any structure, then you automatically have a "NULL" object that can
> be passed around, as long as it's not written to.   Too bad you can't map one
> block of memory for read-only access at 0, and a different block of memory
> write-only at 0, for then you would have a truely NULL object, that's always
> empty and yet, writes to it don't do anything (much like /dev/null under
> Unix).
>  Some might consider the idea wonderful (and I admit, it's an intriguing
> idea), while others are horrified at the sins (bugs) this hides (as I am).
> But what would the effect of allowing such a "nil" in Lua?
>  I know that in the C code I write, I try to avoid NULL as much as
> possible.  It's not always easy, but it does lead to better code in my
> opinion.
>  -spc (and no, I don't map address 0 in any of my programs, no matter
>        how tempting it is ... )
> [1]
> #define _GNU_SOURCE
> #include <assert.h>
> #include <sys/mman.h>
> #include <stdio.h>
> int main()
> {
>  int  *ptr;
>  ptr =  mmap(
>        0,
>        4096,
>        -1,
>        0
>  );
>  if (ptr == (void *)MAP_FAILED)
>  {
>    perror("Unable to mmap(NULL)");
>    fprintf(stderr, "Is /proc/sys/vm/mmap_min_addr non-zero?\n");
>    return 1;
>  }
>  assert(ptr == NULL);
>  printf("Dereferencing my NULL pointer yields: %d\n", *ptr);
>  *ptr = 17;
>  printf("Now it's: %d\n", *ptr);
>  return 0;
> }