[New-bugs-announce] [issue45306] Docs are incorrect re: constant initialization in the C99 standard

Josh Haberman report at bugs.python.org
Mon Sep 27 20:24:44 EDT 2021

New submission from Josh Haberman <jhaberman at gmail.com>:

I believe the following excerpt from the docs is incorrect (https://docs.python.org/3/c-api/typeobj.html#c.PyTypeObject.tp_base):

> Slot initialization is subject to the rules of initializing
> globals. C99 requires the initializers to be “address
> constants”. Function designators like PyType_GenericNew(),
> with implicit conversion to a pointer, are valid C99 address
> constants.
> However, the unary ‘&’ operator applied to a non-static
> variable like PyBaseObject_Type() is not required to produce
> an address constant. Compilers may support this (gcc does),
> MSVC does not. Both compilers are strictly standard
> conforming in this particular behavior.
> Consequently, tp_base should be set in the extension module’s init function.

I explained why in https://mail.python.org/archives/list/python-dev@python.org/thread/2WUFTVQA7SLEDEDYSRJ75XFIR3EUTKKO/ and on https://bugs.python.org/msg402738.

The short version: &foo is an "address constant" according to the standard whenever "foo" has static storage duration.  Variables declared "extern" have static storage duration. Therefore strictly conforming implementations should accept &PyBaseObject_Type as a valid constant initializer.

I believe the text above could be replaced by something like:

> MSVC does not support constant initialization of of an address
> that comes from another DLL, so extensions should be set in the
> extension module's init function.

assignee: docs at python
components: Documentation
messages: 402752
nosy: docs at python, jhaberman
priority: normal
severity: normal
status: open
title: Docs are incorrect re: constant initialization in the C99 standard

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