MALLOC(9)              NetBSD Kernel Developer's Manual              MALLOC(9)

     malloc, realloc, free, malloc_type_attach, malloc_type_detach,
     MALLOC_DEFINE, MALLOC_DECLARE -- general-purpose kernel memory allocator

     #include <sys/malloc.h>

     void *
     malloc(unsigned long size, struct malloc_type *type, int flags);

     void *
     realloc(void *addr, unsigned long newsize, struct malloc_type *type,
         int flags);

     free(void *addr, struct malloc_type *type);

     malloc_type_attach(struct malloc_type *type);

     malloc_type_detach(struct malloc_type *type);

     #include <sys/mallocvar.h>

     MALLOC_DEFINE(type, shortdesc, longdesc);

     MALLOC_JUSTDEFINE(type, shortdesc, longdesc);


     These interfaces are being obsoleted and their new use is discouraged.
     For new code, use kmem(9) for variable-sized or one-time allocations and
     pool_cache(9) for frequent fixed-size allocations instead.

     The malloc() function allocates uninitialized memory in kernel address
     space for an object whose size is specified by size.  free() releases
     memory at address addr that was previously allocated by malloc() for re-
     use.  Unlike free(3), free() does not accept an addr argument that is

     The realloc() function changes the size of the previously allocated mem-
     ory referenced by addr to size and returns a pointer to the (possibly
     moved) object.  The memory contents are unchanged up to the lesser of the
     new and old sizes.  If the new size is larger, the newly allocated memory
     is uninitialized.  If the requested memory cannot be allocated, NULL is
     returned and the memory referenced by addr is unchanged.  If addr is
     NULL, then realloc() behaves exactly as malloc().  If the new size is 0,
     then realloc() behaves exactly as free().

     Unlike its standard C library counterpart (malloc(3)), the kernel version
     takes two more arguments.

     The flags argument further qualifies malloc() operational characteristics
     as follows:

           M_NOWAIT   Causes malloc() to return NULL if the request cannot be
                      immediately fulfilled due to resource shortage.  If this
                      flag is not set (see M_WAITOK), malloc() will never
                      return NULL.

           M_WAITOK   By default, malloc() may call cv_wait(9) to wait for
                      resources to be released by other processes, and this
                      flag represents this behaviour.  Note that M_WAITOK is
                      conveniently defined to be 0, and hence may be or'ed
                      into the flags argument to indicate that it's ok to wait
                      for resources.

           M_ZERO     Causes the allocated memory to be set to all zeros.

           M_CANFAIL  Changes behaviour for M_WAITOK case - if the requested
                      memory size is bigger than malloc() can ever allocate,
                      return failure, rather than calling panic(9).  This is
                      different to M_NOWAIT, since the call can still wait for

                      Rather than depending on M_CANFAIL, kernel code should
                      do proper bound checking itself.  This flag should only
                      be used in cases where this is not feasible.  Since it
                      can hide real kernel bugs, its usage is strongly

     The type argument describes the subsystem and/or use within a subsystem
     for which the allocated memory was needed, and is commonly used to main-
     tain statistics about kernel memory usage and, optionally, enforce limits
     on this usage for certain memory types.

     In addition to some built-in generic types defined by the kernel memory
     allocator, subsystems may define their own types.

     The MALLOC_DEFINE() macro defines a malloc type named type with the short
     description shortdesc, which must be a constant string; this description
     will be used for kernel memory statistics reporting.  The longdesc argu-
     ment, also a constant string, is intended as way to place a comment in
     the actual type definition, and is not currently stored in the type
     structure.  If kernel memory statistics are being gathered, the system
     will choose a reasonable default limit for the malloc type.

     The MALLOC_DECLARE() macro is intended for use in header files which are
     included by code which needs to use the malloc type, providing the neces-
     sary extern declaration.

     Code which includes <sys/malloc.h> does not need to include <sys/malloc-
     var.h> to get these macro definitions.  The <sys/mallocvar.h> header file
     is intended for other header files which need to use the MALLOC_DECLARE()

     The malloc_type_attach() function attaches the malloc type type to the
     kernel memory allocator.

     The malloc_type_detach() function detaches the malloc type type previ-
     ously attached with malloc_type_attach().

     The following generic malloc types are currently defined:

           M_DEVBUF        Device driver memory.
           M_DMAMAP        bus_dma(9) structures.
           M_FREE          Should be on free list.
           M_PCB           Protocol control block.
           M_SOFTINTR      Softinterrupt structures.
           M_TEMP          Misc temporary data buffers.

     Other malloc types are defined by the corresponding subsystem; see the
     documentation for that subsystem for information its available malloc

     malloc() returns a kernel virtual address that is suitably aligned for
     storage of any type of object.

     vmstat(1), memoryallocators(9)

NetBSD 8.1                      August 7, 2015                      NetBSD 8.1

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