On 17 January 2014 15:19, Gabriel Dos Reis <gdr@microsoft.com> wrote:
| From what I've learned in this thread, the (rough) intended C++ model for
| PODs (assuming memory of the right size/alignment) would seem to be "the
| lifetime of a B starts when you write to the memory as a B, and ends when you
| free the memory or write to the memory as different type." [Disclaimer: I'm
| not sure if "read from the memory as a B" also starts lifetime."]

that would be close to what C does with effective types.

| I think we can do better,

Same here.

| but it seems like that's the (rough) intent of the
| status quo, leaving aside the question of whether the wording actually says
| that.
| *If* that is the (rough) intent, then in:
|         void *p = malloc(sizeof(B)); // 1
|         B* pb = (B*)p; // 2
|         pb->i = 0; // 3
|         short* ps = (short*)p; // 4
|         *ps = 0; // 5
|         free(p); // 6
| I assume that the reasoning would be that:
| *     line 3 starts the lifetime of a B (we're writing to the bits of a B member,
| not just any int)

line 3 does not write as a B, so it wouldn't count -- just like in C.

Would that not give 'pb->i = 0' undefined behavior, because 'pb' does not, in fact, point to a B object?

The only clear governing rule I can find is 3.8/5, but that only applies if the storage ever actually contains a B object. Consider:

  void *p = malloc(sizeof(B));
  B *pb = (B*)p;
  pb->i = 0;
  // ...
  new (p) B;

In this example, "pb->i = 0" has undefined behavior, because we performed member access on a pointer that points to storage where a B object will later be constructed. It seems strange that the definedness of 'pb->i = 0' would depend on how the storage is used later.

| *     line 5 ends the lifetime of that B and begins the lifetime of a short
| *     line 6 ends the lifetime of that short


| Again ignoring whether this is desirable, is that (roughly) the intent of the
| current wording?

Almost: we never started the lifetime of a B object.

| If yes, does the wording express it (a) accurately and (b) clearly?

My understanding is "no" for both.

Hear, hear =)
| Finally, regardless of the above answer, do we want to change anything about
| the legality or semantics of the above type-punning code, such as possibly
| having a "type-safe mode" where such code is somehow not allowed unless in
| an "extern "C-compat"" block or something?

This is a good question!  Which definitely needs a paper :-)

My view is that if the storage isn't declared or accessed as a B, then it isn't a B .

It seems you don't consider member access as a B to qualify here. Is that your intent?