WeakMap not the weak needed for zombie views

Allen Wirfs-Brock allen at wirfs-brock.com
Wed Jul 9 09:21:17 PDT 2014

On Jul 6, 2014, at 6:49 PM, Boris Zbarsky wrote:

> On 7/6/14, 4:11 PM, Filip Pizlo wrote:
>> My reading of the linked Mozilla discussions seems to be that some GC
>> implementors think it's hard to get the feature right
> I'm not sure how you can possibly read https://groups.google.com/forum/#!msg/mozilla.dev.tech.js-engine.internals/V__5zqll3zc/hLJiNqd8Xq8J that way.  That post isn't even from a GC implementor and says nothing about implementation issues!

Well, I might disagree with part of this characterization ;-) http://www.wirfs-brock.com/allen/things/smalltalk-things/tektronix-smalltalk-document-archi
BTW, George Bosworth, who I mentioned in that message is the person who originally came up with the Ephemeron idea.

> I think that post presents the strongest argument I know against the "use GC to reclaim your non-memory resources" argument, and the summary is that while that approach looks promising at first glance in practice it leads to resources not being reclaimed when they should be because the GC is not aiming for whatever sort of resource management those particular resources want.

My position reflects the experience of not only implementing high perf GCs that include support for various kinds of weak references but also of observing and supporting the uses of a full stack commercial application development environment that exposed them.  They just aren't the secret source that people expect them to be and this leads to obscure application level bugs and memory leaks which often go completely unnoticed.

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