This is an unofficial snapshot of the ISO/IEC JTC1 SC22 WG21 Core Issues List revision 110b. See http://www.open-std.org/jtc1/sc22/wg21/ for the official list.

2023-01-15


288. Misuse of "static type" in describing pointers

Section: 7.6.2.9  [expr.delete]     Status: CD1     Submitter: James Kuyper     Date: 19 May 2001

[Voted into the WP at the June, 2008 meeting.]

For delete expressions, 7.6.2.9 [expr.delete] paragraph 1 says

The operand shall have a pointer type, or a class type having a single conversion function to a pointer type.

However, paragraph 3 of that same section says:

if the static type of the operand is different from its dynamic type, the static type shall be a base class of the operand's dynamic type and the static type shall have a virtual destructor or the behavior is undefined.

Since the operand must be of pointer type, its static type is necessarily the same as its dynamic type. That clause is clearly referring to the object being pointed at, and not to the pointer operand itself.

Correcting the wording gets a little complicated, because dynamic and static types are attributes of expressions, not objects, and there's no sub-expression of a delete-expression which has the relevant types.

Suggested resolution:

then there is a static type and a dynamic type that the hypothetical expression (* const-expression) would have. If that static type is different from that dynamic type, then that static type shall be a base class of that dynamic type, and that static type shall have a virtual destructor, or the behavior is undefined.

There's precedent for such use of hypothetical constructs: see 7.6.10 [expr.eq] paragraph 2, and 9.3.2 [dcl.name] paragraph 1.

11.7.3 [class.virtual] paragraph 3 has a similar problem. It refers to

the type of the pointer or reference denoting the object (the static type).

The type of the pointer is different from the type of the reference, both of which are different from the static type of '*pointer', which is what I think was actually intended. Paragraph 6 contains the exact same wording, in need of the same correction. In this case, perhaps replacing "pointer or reference" with "expression" would be the best fix. In order for this fix to be sufficient, pointer->member must be considered equivalent to (*pointer).member, in which case the "expression" referred to would be (*pointer).

11.4.11 [class.free] paragraph 4 says that
if a delete-expression is used to deallocate a class object whose static type has...

This should be changed to

if a delete-expression is used to deallocate a class object through a pointer expression whose dereferenced static type would have...

The same problem occurs later, when it says that the

static and dynamic types of the object shall be identical

In this case you could replace "object" with "dereferenced pointer expression".

Footnote 104 says that

7.6.2.9 [expr.delete] requires that ... the static type of the delete-expression's operand be the same as its dynamic type.

This would need to be changed to

the delete-expression's dereferenced operand

Proposed resolution (December, 2006):

  1. Change 7.6.2.9 [expr.delete] paragraph 3 as follows:

  2. In the first alternative (delete object), if the static type of the operand object to be deleted is different from its dynamic type, the static type shall be a base class of the operand's dynamic type of the object to be deleted and the static type shall have a virtual destructor or the behavior is undefined. In the second alternative (delete array) if the dynamic type of the object to be deleted differs from its static type, the behavior is undefined.
  3. Change the footnote in 11.4.11 [class.free] paragraph 4 as follows:

  4. A similar provision is not needed for the array version of operator delete because 7.6.2.9 [expr.delete] requires that in this situation, the static type of the delete-expression's operand object to be deleted be the same as its dynamic type.
  5. Change the footnote in 11.4.11 [class.free] paragraph 5 as follows:

  6. If the static type in the delete-expression of the object to be deleted is different from the dynamic type and the destructor is not virtual the size might be incorrect, but that case is already undefined; see 7.6.2.9 [expr.delete].

[Drafting notes: No change is required for 11.7.3 [class.virtual] paragraph 7 because “the type of the pointer” includes the pointed-to type. No change is required for 11.4.11 [class.free] paragraph 4 because “...used to deallocate a class object whose static type...” already refers to the object (and not the operand expression).]