Group-based Memory Management in Fyr
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Gesellschaft für Informatik e.V.z
Albeit being introduced decades ago, C and C++ are still the most commonly used programming languages for operating systems. These languages have no reliable mechanisms to deal with memory safety issues, such as use-after-free or data race conditions, that are a leading cause for security bugs in operating systems and other critical software. Tools such as Valgrind have been developed to identify errors, but the errors must occur during the analysis, as they are not found otherwise. Several modern programming languages such as Rust, Go and Swift have emerged aiming to solve some of the issues by providing memory safety guarantees at compile or run time. However, these languages introduce new limitations, especially concerning software development for performance-critical or resource-constrained systems. In this paper, we introduce a new approach to automatic memory management that manages the lifetime of object groups instead of individual objects. We show that group-based memory management can remove some of the restrictions of modern programming languages while satisfying important memory safety constraints. Furthermore, we show how group-based memory management is implemented in our new systems programming language Fyr.