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     malloc, free, realloc, reallocf, MALLOC_DEFINE, MALLOC_DECLARE — kernel memory management


     #include <sys/types.h>
     #include <sys/malloc.h>

     void *
     malloc(unsigned long size, struct malloc_type *type, int flags);

     free(void *addr, struct malloc_type *type);

     void *
     realloc(void *addr, unsigned long size, struct malloc_type *type, int flags);

     void *
     reallocf(void *addr, unsigned long size, struct malloc_type *type, int flags);


     #include <sys/param.h>
     #include <sys/malloc.h>
     #include <sys/kernel.h>

     MALLOC_DEFINE(type, shortdesc, longdesc);


     The malloc() function allocates uninitialized memory in kernel address space for an object
     whose size is specified by size.

     The free() function releases memory at address addr that was previously allocated by
     malloc() for re-use.  The memory is not zeroed.  If addr is NULL, then free() does nothing.

     The realloc() function changes the size of the previously allocated memory referenced by
     addr to size bytes.  The contents of the memory are unchanged up to the lesser of the new
     and old sizes.  Note that the returned value may differ from addr.  If the requested memory
     cannot be allocated, NULL is returned and the memory referenced by addr is valid and
     unchanged.  If addr is NULL, the realloc() function behaves identically to malloc() for the
     specified size.

     The reallocf() function is identical to realloc() except that it will free the passed
     pointer when the requested memory cannot be allocated.

     Unlike its standard C library counterpart (malloc(3)), the kernel version takes two more
     arguments.  The flags argument further qualifies malloc()'s operational characteristics as

     M_ZERO  Causes the allocated memory to be set to all zeros.

             For allocations greater than page size, causes the allocated memory to be excluded
             from kernel core dumps.

             Causes malloc(), realloc(), and reallocf() to return NULL if the request cannot be
             immediately fulfilled due to resource shortage.  Note that M_NOWAIT is required when
             running in an interrupt context.

             Indicates that it is OK to wait for resources.  If the request cannot be immediately
             fulfilled, the current process is put to sleep to wait for resources to be released
             by other processes.  The malloc(), realloc(), and reallocf() functions cannot return
             NULL if M_WAITOK is specified.

             Indicates that the system can use its reserve of memory to satisfy the request.
             This option should only be used in combination with M_NOWAIT when an allocation
             failure cannot be tolerated by the caller without catastrophic effects on the

     Exactly one of either M_WAITOK or M_NOWAIT must be specified.

     The type argument is used to perform statistics on memory usage, and for basic sanity
     checks.  It can be used to identify multiple allocations.  The statistics can be examined by
     ‘vmstat -m’.

     A type is defined using struct malloc_type via the MALLOC_DECLARE() and MALLOC_DEFINE()

           /* sys/something/foo_extern.h */


           /* sys/something/foo_main.c */

           MALLOC_DEFINE(M_FOOBUF, "foobuffers", "Buffers to foo data into the ether");

           /* sys/something/foo_subr.c */

           buf = malloc(sizeof(*buf), M_FOOBUF, M_NOWAIT);

     In order to use MALLOC_DEFINE(), one must include <sys/param.h> (instead of <sys/types.h>)
     and <sys/kernel.h>.


     The memory allocator allocates memory in chunks that have size a power of two for requests
     up to the size of a page of memory.  For larger requests, one or more pages is allocated.
     While it should not be relied upon, this information may be useful for optimizing the
     efficiency of memory use.

     Programmers should be careful not to confuse the malloc flags M_NOWAIT and M_WAITOK with the
     mbuf(9) flags M_DONTWAIT and M_WAIT.


     malloc(), realloc() and reallocf() may not be called from fast interrupts handlers.  When
     called from threaded interrupts, flags must contain M_NOWAIT.

     malloc(), realloc() and reallocf() may sleep when called with M_WAITOK.  free() never

     Any calls to malloc() (even with M_NOWAIT) or free() when holding a vnode(9) interlock, will
     cause a LOR (Lock Order Reversal) due to the intertwining of VM Objects and Vnodes.


     The malloc(), realloc(), and reallocf() functions return a kernel virtual address that is
     suitably aligned for storage of any type of object, or NULL if the request could not be
     satisfied (implying that M_NOWAIT was set).


     A kernel compiled with the INVARIANTS configuration option attempts to detect memory
     corruption caused by such things as writing outside the allocated area and imbalanced calls
     to the malloc() and free() functions.  Failing consistency checks will cause a panic or a
     system console message.


     vmstat(8), contigmalloc(9), memguard(9), vnode(9)