Re: Sinkability considered harmful

On Jan 4, 2006, at 6:33 AM, Tim Janik wrote:

On Tue, 3 Jan 2006, Federico Mena Quintero wrote:

The "floating" flag was introduced in GtkObject to:
	2. make things easier for language bindings.

this is not quite right. the floating flag is of no use to langauge bindings,
if it affects them, it makes things harder for LBs.

Actually (to throw a wrench in things), the floating flag *does* make language bindings easier. The GtkObject wrapper can *always* do an unconditional ref and sink; if it was floating, e.g., returned from a constructor, the object is now owned by the wrapper, and if not, the wrapper is just another owner. For non-floating objects, the binding author must now distinguish constructors from other functions in order to avoid leaking objects. Gtk2-Perl has seen a lot of reference-count leaks related to GObject-returning functions that we marked incorrectly (human error), but none related to GtkObject- returning functions.

That said, the main impetus for the human error involved in marking API functions has been the inconsistency of ownership for returned objects, that is, violation of the Principle of Least Surprise. It's not cool to have to look at the reference docs for every single function to verify whether you need to unref the return value.

Found: Poop
Someone's dog lost some poop in front of the Studio Theatre. Unfortunately, this article has been slightly damaged since it was neglectfully left on the sidewalk. It is available to its rightful owner (or its owner's rightful owner) if they so desire to come and scrape it off my shoe.
  -- someplace on the internet

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