Re: Finalizers are dangerous

Frank Quinn

Hi Bill,

We close the bridges because we leak memory if we dont. Imho leaking memory should be avoided where possible. In this case, its avoidable, so I don't think we should do it.

If you really want control and are happy to leak memory, just don't call mama_close(), or we can look at that configuration option I suggested (though it will need to avoid freeing the bridges too - not just avoid dlclosing).

In terms of the actual fix, as I said, I haven't gotten around to it yet. I know how to fix it, I just haven't had the chance, nor have any volunteers come forward to pick it up.


On 28 Dec 2017 15:49, "Bill Torpey" <wallstprog@...> wrote:
HI Frank:

And Happy Holidays to you too!

A couple of points:

  • I’m not aware of any changes to OpenMAMA that affect the issue, so if there are some please point me in the proper direction.  The last reply from you was back in May.
  • As the application developer I get to decide which leaks are acceptable to me, and which are not.  Taking that choice away from me is not OK.
  • You’re confusing and/or conflating the shutdown of the bridge libraries with the unloading of those libraries from memory.  
    • It is not necessary to unload the libraries in order to shut them down:
      • The transport library can be shut down without being unloaded from memory.
      • The payload library doesn’t need to be shut down at all, since it never fires any events.
    • The only reason I can think of for dynamically unloading the libraries is to support some kind of dynamic switching of transports and/or payloads.  I suspect that this feature is an example of YAGNI, but even there is a reasonable use for this feature, forcing the vast majority of applications that don’t need it to pay the price for it is a bad design decision.

Short version, it’s my application, and I get to decide how I want it to behave. 

Best Regards,


On Dec 28, 2017, at 10:33 AM, Frank Quinn <frank@...> wrote:

Happy holidays folks!

First of all (with respect to the C++ concerns), that ticket is still open - I plan on actioning it I just haven't had time yet.

My suggestions were far from "don't solve it" and was instead was more like "let's not annoy every developer of OpenMAMA by leaking memory every single time they close their application" which is what was suggested. My opinion was that if there was an alternative, we should do that. If there was no alternative, we can reassess. Fortunately in this case there is an alternative since it's possible (thanks to last year's bridge changes) to programatically check if a specific bridge is still open in the finalizer / destructor and therefore not attempt to access the bridge if it has been unloaded. This is clean, unobtrusive and lightweight.

I also suggested a configuration option to optionally leave the payload bridge open (though as mentioned in the ticket if its memory is tied to the middleware bridge, it could crash anyway).

I would suggest a similar approach in Java - let the language specific layer deal with the language specific nuances. We can avoid crashes with code changes in OpenMAMA here fairly easily.


On Thu, Dec 28, 2017 at 3:17 PM, Sanjeev Wahi <sawahi@...> wrote:

I can suggest a possible fix (by adding extra weak_ptr check) while calling Mama.close()  that can avoid this problem in C11/C11++ when using shared_ptr.
*(assumption is Mama.close() is not called by many threads same time, in that case also use C11 atomic integer counter with this code)

*( I do not know much Java but something similar would work).

1st Approach:
Gat a new shared_ptr, but test for whether it is empty or pointing to something by testing
it for true/false, analogous to what we would do with a built-in pointer that might be zero:

void do_it(weak_ptr<Thing> wp){
        shared_ptr<Thing> sp = wp.lock(); // get shared_ptr from weak_ptr
                sp->defrangulate(); // tell the Thing to do something
                cout << "The Thing is gone!" << endl;

2nd Approach:
We can ask the weak_ptr if it has "expired":

bool is_it_there(weak_ptr<Thing> wp) {
        if(wp.expired()) {
                cout << "The Thing is gone!" << endl;
                return false;
return true;

-Sanjeev Wahi

-----Original Message-----
From: [] On Behalf Of Bill Torpey
Sent: Thursday, December 28, 2017 9:39 AM
To: Yury Batrakov <yury.batrakov@...>
Cc: openmama-dev <openmama-dev@...rg>
Subject: Re: [Openmama-dev] Finalizers are dangerous

Unfortunately, that is not a bug, but a “feature”.

The problem is that mama_close unloads both the transport and payload libraries (via dlclose on Linux).  So, any access to any objects related to either library following mama_close is guaranteed to crash.

This makes OpenMAMA completely unusable for GC languages like Java, and presumably .Net, as well as for reference-counted implementations in other languages (e.g., shared_ptr in C++).

I’ve argued this point with Frank, but so far to no avail:

Perhaps if enough people chime in, we can change Frank’s mind.  Until that time, the only solution I can think of is to fork OpenMAMA and remove or replace the offending code.  That is not a great solution, but as I mention in the bug report, this behavior is a total non-starter for me (and presumably for others as well).

> On Dec 28, 2017, at 6:08 AM, Yury Batrakov <yury.batrakov@...> wrote:
> Classification: Public
> Hi team,
> Sorry for telling bad news in holidays but I have found a major issue with Java API - JVM may crash if GC comes after Mama.close() method. Here's code sample to reproduce it:
> import com.wombat.mama.Mama;
> import com.wombat.mama.MamaMsg;
> public class Test {
>    private static MamaMsg getMessage() {
>        return new MamaMsg();
>    }
>    public static void main(String[] args) {
>        Mama.loadBridge("...");
>        getMessage(); // Creating MamaMsg object without reference
>        Mama.close(); // Payload bridge is destroyed here
>        System.gc();
>        System.runFinalization(); // Calling MamaMsg.destroy() which delegates the destruction to deleted payload bridge
>    }
> }
> Stack trace:
> #12 0x00007fc494a095f0 in ?? ()
> #13 0x00007fc496ac1cf4 in mamaMsg_destroy (msg=0x7fc4900c90a0) at mama/c_cpp/src/c/msg.c:127
> #14 0x00007fc496d70b7f in Java_com_wombat_mama_MamaMsg__1destroy (env=0x7fc4b00039f8, this=0x7fc49779d710) at mama/jni/src/c/mamamsgjni.c:3882
> #15 0x00007fc4bae7e494 in ?? ()
> Problematic frame:
> #13 0x00007fc496ac1cf4 in mamaMsg_destroy (msg=0x7fc4900c90a0) at mama/c_cpp/src/c/msg.c:127
> 127             if (MAMA_STATUS_OK != impl->mPayloadBridge->msgPayloadDestroy (impl->mPayload))
> impl->mPayloadBridge is destroyed here.
> Similar crash occurs when finalizing subscriptions - they also need entitlements bridge to be available but Mama.close() deletes it too.
> The workaround is to call destroy() method for each message/subscription created but this actually nullifies the need for finalize() methods. I would delete all them from MAMA code.
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