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3.2.3 Allocation Debugging

A complicated task when programming with languages which do not use garbage collected dynamic memory allocation is to find memory leaks. Long running programs must assure that dynamically allocated objects are freed at the end of their lifetime. If this does not happen the system runs out of memory, sooner or later.

The malloc implementation in the GNU C Library provides some simple means to detect such leaks and obtain some information to find the location. To do this the application must be started in a special mode which is enabled by an environment variable. There are no speed penalties for the program if the debugging mode is not enabled.