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Date: Wed, 8 Apr 2015 17:05:45 +0300
From: Solar Designer <>
Subject: Re: [PHC] On type aliasing and similar issues

On Wed, Apr 08, 2015 at 07:25:29AM +0300, Alexander Cherepanov wrote:
> On 2015-04-08 06:03, Samuel Neves wrote:
> >On 04/08/2015 03:37 AM, Alexander Cherepanov wrote:
> >>AFACT this is implementation-defined in C89 ( and fully defined 
> >>in C99 and C11 (
> >
> >Yes, type punning with unions is now OK (though implementation-defined; 
> >accessing the wrong member may still trap) in
> uint32_t[2] and uint64_t don't have padding bits and have the same size 
> so this particular example is fully defined.

FWIW, icc 14.0.0 miscompiles the code I have in php_mt_seed 3.2 if I
remove the "volatile" workaround:

#ifdef __ICC
			union {
				vtype v;
				uint32_t s[sizeof(vtype) / 4];
			} u[8], uM[8];

where vtype is e.g.:

typedef __m128i vtype;

and the union members are only accessed directly, not via pointers,
although indeed there are uses like u[i].s[j] (so with non-constant
index for the .s[] array).

I thought this was an icc bug, but maybe I'm wrong?

Full context:

> >C99 and above. What is being dereferenced in the example is the pointer to 
> >the union, not the members, so I'm not sure
> >strict aliasing's undefined behavior applies. The example could be further 
> >improved to demonstrate this:
> >
> >   #include <stdint.h>
> >   #include <stdio.h>
> >
> >   union U {
> >     uint32_t x[2];
> >     uint64_t y;
> >   };
> >
> >   extern union U * v;
> >
> >   void f() {
> >     uint32_t * p = &v->x[0];
> >     uint64_t * q = &v->y;
> >     *p = 17;
> >     *q = 42;
> >     printf("%u\n", v->x[0]);
> >   }
> >
> >While Clang and recent GCC do what one would hope (print 42), GCC 3.4 and 
> >Intel compiler print 17.
> Yes, it seems the standard intends to permit access to wrong members 
> only via . and -> operators. You cannot access them in a less direct 
> way.

In my php_mt_seed example, is accessing .s[j] standards compliant or
not?  If not, that's really unfortunate.

What about e.g., .s[3] (constant index)?  We could want to narrow down
icc's behavior - whether the problem occurs only with variable or also
with constant indices, or maybe even without an array at all.  I haven't
tried yet.

> If you pass them to another function then recent gcc -O2 will print 
> 17 too.

This is not surprising.  However, I think behavior within one function,
where having derived a pointer from a union member is clearly visible to
the compiler, could be defined.

Does any recent C standard say anything about the special case of
accessing union members via pointers within the same function?


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