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3.2.2.7 Allocating Aligned Memory Blocks

The address of a block returned by malloc or realloc in GNU systems is always a multiple of eight (or sixteen on 64-bit systems). If you need a block whose address is a multiple of a higher power of two than that, use aligned_alloc or posix_memalign. aligned_alloc and posix_memalign are declared in stdlib.h.

— Function: void * aligned_alloc (size_t alignment, size_t size)

Preliminary: | MT-Safe | AS-Unsafe lock | AC-Unsafe lock fd mem | See POSIX Safety Concepts.

The aligned_alloc function allocates a block of size bytes whose address is a multiple of alignment. The alignment must be a power of two and size must be a multiple of alignment.

The aligned_alloc function returns a null pointer on error and sets errno to one of the following values:

ENOMEM
There was insufficient memory available to satisfy the request.
EINVAL
alignment is not a power of two.

This function was introduced in ISO C11 and hence may have better portability to modern non-POSIX systems than posix_memalign.

— Function: void * memalign (size_t boundary, size_t size)

Preliminary: | MT-Safe | AS-Unsafe lock | AC-Unsafe lock fd mem | See POSIX Safety Concepts.

The memalign function allocates a block of size bytes whose address is a multiple of boundary. The boundary must be a power of two! The function memalign works by allocating a somewhat larger block, and then returning an address within the block that is on the specified boundary.

The memalign function returns a null pointer on error and sets errno to one of the following values:

ENOMEM
There was insufficient memory available to satisfy the request.
EINVAL
alignment is not a power of two.

The memalign function is obsolete and aligned_alloc or posix_memalign should be used instead.

— Function: int posix_memalign (void **memptr, size_t alignment, size_t size)

Preliminary: | MT-Safe | AS-Unsafe lock | AC-Unsafe lock fd mem | See POSIX Safety Concepts.

The posix_memalign function is similar to the memalign function in that it returns a buffer of size bytes aligned to a multiple of alignment. But it adds one requirement to the parameter alignment: the value must be a power of two multiple of sizeof (void *).

If the function succeeds in allocation memory a pointer to the allocated memory is returned in *memptr and the return value is zero. Otherwise the function returns an error value indicating the problem. The possible error values returned are:

ENOMEM
There was insufficient memory available to satisfy the request.
EINVAL
alignment is not a power of two multiple of sizeof (void *).

This function was introduced in POSIX 1003.1d. Although this function is superseded by aligned_alloc, it is more portable to older POSIX systems that do not support ISO C11.

— Function: void * valloc (size_t size)

Preliminary: | MT-Unsafe init | AS-Unsafe init lock | AC-Unsafe init lock fd mem | See POSIX Safety Concepts.

Using valloc is like using memalign and passing the page size as the value of the second argument. It is implemented like this:

          void *
          valloc (size_t size)
          {
            return memalign (getpagesize (), size);
          }

Query Memory Parameters for more information about the memory subsystem.

The valloc function is obsolete and aligned_alloc or posix_memalign should be used instead.