RFC: Adding annotations to function declarations to improve static analysis

Rob Shearman robertshearman at gmail.com
Sun Sep 28 11:26:02 CDT 2008

2008/9/28 Reece Dunn <msclrhd at googlemail.com>:
> 2008/9/28 Rob Shearman <robertshearman at gmail.com>:
>> Hi all,
>> This will be talked about in more detail at WineConf tomorrow, but I
>> just thought I'd throw this out there as a bit of background to any
>> discussions.
>> Adding annotations to function declarations allows Prefast to pick up
>> certain classes of bugs with varying degrees of false positives. In
>> particular, with patches like the attached applied
>> byte-count/element-count mismatches can be detected with no false
>> positives and relatively few false positives for off-by-one errors and
>> other buffer overruns. Whilst this could be maintained outside of the
>> main Wine tree it would be more convenient in terms of automation of
>> Prefast runs if a vanilla Wine tree can be used (i.e. the annotation
>> patches are in the official tree).
> This is a good idea.
> Is it possible to make tools like sparse aware of these annotations? I
> know that the kernel devs use it to track kernel vs userland pointer
> mis-matches, but don't know that much about the details.

Making sure that kernel/user pointers are not mixed up is quite
different to the annotations that I am proposing to add. However,
someone could certainly hack on sparse to make it become a more
advanced static analysis tool.

> It should then be possible to allow users to configure (if not already
> available) the build to use sparse as the designated toolchain. This
> may also generate even more warnings, even without the annotations :).

While I have used sparse on individual source files before, I believe
it would be a challenge to configure allow it to be used from

Rob Shearman

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