[tz] suggestions for potential code improvements?

Kees Dekker Kees.Dekker at infor.com
Fri Jul 24 08:52:54 UTC 2015

Hi Paul,

Many thanks for your reply. The patch looks well. Will this patch become part of a successor version of the code?

I checked with my colleague (who checked the code in the past) and he told that some compiler may complain about assigning a 3-character string literal (which is actually 4 bytes) to an array of 3-byte strings, but I was not (yet) able to confirm this. My remark was just based on reading (only) the code.

Note that we use the tz code on a wide range of platforms (Windows/Visual Studio, AIX/XL C/C++, HPUX/aCC, Linux/gcc, Solaris/Studio Compiler). I will try to find a platform that complies about non-initialized variables. This will take some time for me before I have tested all platforms.


-----Original Message-----
From: Paul Eggert [mailto:eggert at cs.ucla.edu] 
Sent: Friday, July 24, 2015 02:09
To: Kees Dekker; Time Zone Mailing List
Subject: Re: [tz] suggestions for potential code improvements?

On 07/23/2015 07:50 AM, Kees Dekker wrote:
> 1.Why do you not always initialize the variables that are now passed 
> to the INITIALIZE macro (see date.c/localtime.c/zic.c/private.h)? It 
> has (almost) no impact on performance and prevents strict compilers to 
> complain about (potentially) non-initialized variables.

Thanks for the careful reading of the code.  Although INITIALIZE does 
improve performance very slightly, it is not primarily about 
performance.  Mainly, it documents initialization that exists only to 
pacify compilers like GCC that would otherwise complain.  If the code 
always initialized variables even when not needed, the code would become 
more confusing to human readers, as we'd have to puzzle out why the 
initialization is present even though it is not used.

If this is a problem in your environment, you can compile with -Dlint.  
I often build this way:


as this provides -Dlint automatically.

> I don’t know whether all sprintf() implementations for all operating 
> systems respect the width/size specifier and allow non-0 terminated 
> string.

All sprintf implementations work that way.  This has been required by 
the C standard since C89 and is true for all C libraries in widespread 
use today.

I tried rewriting asctime.c along the lines that you suggested (see the 
attached patch).  On my platform (Fedora 21 x86-64, GCC 5.1.0) this made 
the zdump executable a tiny bit larger (7 bytes, for a new total of 
33077 bytes).  The wday_name and mon_name arrays are not likely to used 
elsewhere accidentally, as they're private to asctime_r and do not 
escape.  Although it's not a big deal either way, it should be OK to 
leave this code alone.

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