`free` operator

David Bruant bruant.d at gmail.com
Fri Oct 26 02:28:02 PDT 2012

Le 26/10/2012 07:28, Patrick Mueller a écrit :
>     On Thu, Oct 25, 2012 at 4:16 PM, Isaac Schlueter <i at izs.me
>     <mailto:i at izs.me>> wrote:
>     It'd be really nice if JS had a way to explicitly delete an object.
>     Didn't proxies have some way of doing a become: and freezing
>     themselves as a new object?  Maybe that was the older Proxy stuff,
>     didn't see it in the current drafts.  But did see "Revokable
>     Proxies", which sounds like it might fit the bill, though you'd
>     have to arrange to proxy the sketchy object early:
>         http://wiki.ecmascript.org/doku.php?id=strawman:revokable_proxies
Indeed. Basically, the revoke functions is a 'free' operator specialized
for the generated proxy. Proxies still leaks (that's unavoidable), but
the underlying target does not.
My original post on the topic (where I mention a use case equivalent to

I'm strongy against a free operator, because if it's in a language,
it'll be in a node module (or any update...) and people may use it to
randomly free objects I created. The module may have been corrupted (by
a bug) and the inclusion of a naive free operator would be impossible to
defend against.

I see an analogy with Dave's post on coroutines [1] (which I think is
mistitled because what is said stands beyond the web context). The
ability to stop the stack provides authority to library authors that
can't be defended against when you import the library and make it harder
for you to reason about your program.
Generators are a sweet spot between what we expect from coroutines and
not providing abusive authority. I think revokable proxies are also a
sweet spot between being able to free memory (or rather make memory
freeable) and not providing the abusive authority to arbitrarily free
anything at anytime.

Regarding "it's a problem I have in node.js in production right now!!!",
proxies (including the revokable part) have been agreed on by TC39 and
are "a V8 issue away" [2] with already a partial implementation (though
from the previous design). On the other hand, the "free" operator is
meeting resistance on es-discuss (and I assume it won't be agreed on by
TC39 as proposed).


[2] http://code.google.com/p/v8/issues/detail?id=1543
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