[TUHS] What sparked lint? [Was: Unix stories]

Larry McVoy lm at mcvoy.com
Thu Jan 5 11:39:13 AEST 2017

On Wed, Jan 04, 2017 at 08:30:48PM -0500, Nemo wrote:
> On 4 January 2017 at 13:51, Steve Johnson <scj at yaccman.com> wrote (in part):
> > These rules provided rich fodder for Lint, when it came along, [...]
> All this lint talk caused me to reread your Lint article but no
> history there.  Was there a specific incident that begat lint?

That would be cool to know.  Another thing I wish they had put in was
the ability to print the type (underlying type, not the typedef) names.

My first job was porting /usr/src/cmd to the ETA-10 which had bit pointers.
Yup, hardware pointers pointed at bits, not bytes.  The C compiler people
had to decide what to do if you took an int and cast it into a C pointer.
They choose to shift it from bit to byte.  So an int could countain an 
address but it countained a bit address.  Consider this code:

    char *p = (char*)malloc(size);      /* little white lie?  uh-uh. */

If there is no #include <malloc.h> then the compiler thought that malloc
returned an int. The conversion caused a 3 bit shift when it shouldn't.

I wacked lint to print out the type names and any time I saw a ptr/int
type mismatch I just #included all the header files like malloc.h et al.

Turned a 6 month job into a 2 week job.

I believe at some point System V made the same changes.  I'm sort of sure
that I sent my diffs to Dennis, not positive.  They may have come up with
the same idea on their own.

Lint is a great tool.

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