[rust-dev] On Copy = POD

Patrick Walton pcwalton at mozilla.com
Sun Jun 22 14:01:18 PDT 2014

On 6/21/14 4:05 PM, Cameron Zwarich wrote:
> Another big problem with implicit copy constructors is that they make it
> very difficult to write correct unsafe code. When each use of a variable
> can call arbitrary code, each use of a variable can trigger unwinding.
> You then basically require people to write the equivalent of
> exception-safe C++ in unsafe code to preserve memory safety guarantees,
> and it’s notoriously difficult to do that.

Yes, I kind of wonder whether it is better to do something more targeted 
to Rc (for example, making copy constructors always unsafe—they are for 
Rc anyhow—and saying that unwinding is UB, or adopting something more 
like Obj-C/Swift ARC than C++ copy constructors or D postblit). C++ has 
sometimes gotten into trouble offering large sweeping "metafeatures" 
(e.g. ADL, SFINAE) when small targeted features could suffice.

But honestly, I'm pretty happy with the status quo, especially for 1.0. 
Not to imply that Servo is the only use case that matters, of course, 
but when it comes to RC, the status quo isn't hurting Servo in my 
experience (and, in fact, the explicit clones are quite important for 
layout); if anything, what hurts Servo is integration with the 
JavaScript *GC*, and fluent integration with an external garbage 
collector in a systems language is an unsolved research problem as far 
as I'm concerned.


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