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Carp::Heavy panic: malloc Unicode?

by Dave Howorth (Scribe)
on Feb 07, 2007 at 10:03 UTC ( #598721=perlquestion: print w/replies, xml ) Need Help??
Dave Howorth has asked for the wisdom of the Perl Monks concerning the following question:

Om mani padme hum ...

I'm debugging a program and am seeing this message:

panic: malloc at /usr/lib/perl5/5.8.6/Carp/ line 61. Debugged program terminated.

The code at line 61 of Carp::Heavy is:

$arg =~ s/([[:cntrl:]]|[[:^ascii:]])/sprintf("\\x{%x}",ord($1))/eg;

and it is preceded by a comment:

# The following handling of "control chars" is direct from # the original code - I think it is broken on Unicode though. # Suggestions?

The whole module of course starts with the legendary words:

heavy machinery, no user serviceable parts inside

I've searched around a bit without finding anything about my problem. Neither my code nor data does anything with Unicode; it's all ASCII AFAIK. I'm running perl v5.8.6. Can anybody suggest an approach to this problem?

Thanks, Dave

PS I see that the latest version of Carp::Heavy on CPAN has slightly different code that mentions utf8, but it still has the same comment!

Replies are listed 'Best First'.
Re: Carp::Heavy panic: malloc Unicode?
by Steve_p (Priest) on Feb 07, 2007 at 20:25 UTC

    That bit of code is broken and should be available in a newer version of Perl. The patch below resolved the problem.

    Change 25363 by rgs@bloom on 2005/09/07 11:09:10 The formatting function of Carp::Heavy has problem with utf8 strin +gs. Work around it. Affected files ... ... //depot/perl/lib/Carp/ edit Differences ... ==== //depot/perl/lib/Carp/ (text) ==== @@ -116,9 +116,10 @@ $arg = "'$arg'" unless $arg =~ /^-?[\d.]+\z/; # The following handling of "control chars" is direct from - # the original code - I think it is broken on Unicode though. + # the original code - it is broken on Unicode though. # Suggestions? - $arg =~ s/([[:cntrl:]]|[[:^ascii:]])/sprintf("\\x{%x}",ord($1))/eg; + utf8::is_utf8($arg) + or $arg =~ s/([[:cntrl:]]|[[:^ascii:]])/sprintf("\\x{%x}",ord($1) +)/eg; return $arg; }

    Test your modules with bleadperl!

      rsync -avz rsync:// .
      ./Configure -des -Dusedevel -Dprefix=/path/to/test/perl
      make test
      make install

    Now, please test you modules! If you have test failures that don't happen with Perl 5.8.8, send a simplified test case to

    perlbug at

      Wow. That piece of enlightenment gives me hope that someday I might be able to use the perl debugger with unicode data... I've had repeated failures when using "perl -d" on scripts that involve regex operations on utf8 strings, in 5.8.6 on macosx and 5.8.7 on freebsd. A script would run okay by itself (except for bugs), but running it with "perl -d" leads to various reports of "out of memory" at the first unicode-heavy regex. So, I'm guessing the debugger contains something similar to the logic you've cited in Carp::Heavy. (But curiously, I can run a one-liner applying that regex to a utf8 string on my mac without difficulty. I'm confused.)

      Anyway, I can't say that I approve of the approach taken in that patch. All it's doing is: if the string has the utf8 flag on, avoid trying to make any non-visible or non-ascii characters "displayable" by converting them to hex notation.

      Rather than just give up completely on utf8 strings, wouldn't it be better to use a different approach? e.g.:

      $arg = join "", map { ($_ lt ' ' or $_ gt '~') ? sprintf("\\x{%x}",ord) : $_ } split //, $arg;
      I'm not sure, but I think that should avoid the malloc explosion caused by using [[:cntrl:]]|[[:^ascii:]] on a utf8 string.
Re: Carp::Heavy panic: malloc Unicode?
by shmem (Chancellor) on Feb 07, 2007 at 16:29 UTC
    Perl croaks in Perl_malloc (in malloc.c). perldiag states:
    panic: malloc
    (P) Something requested a negative number of bytes of malloc.

    It would be interesting to know what's in $arg just before the crash. Maybe insert a print statement at line 60 into Carp::Heavy?


    _($_=" "x(1<<5)."?\n".q·/)Oo.  G°\        /
                                  /\_¯/(q    /
    ----------------------------  \__(m.====·.(_("always off the crowd"))."·
    ");sub _{s./.($e="'Itrs `mnsgdq Gdbj O`qkdq")=~y/"-y/#-z/;$e.e && print}
Re: Carp::Heavy panic: malloc Unicode?
by jmcnamara (Monsignor) on Feb 07, 2007 at 13:08 UTC

    I can't say if it is the case here but any time that I've encountered Carp::Heavy errors/warnings it has been a problem not with Carp::Heavy but with the parent program consuming too many system resources such as memory or open file handles.

    Update: Looks like it was a Carp::Heavy problem this time. See Steve_p's answer below.


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