The Ultimate in Garbage Collection

From comp.lang.ada via tjalfi on Hacker News:

From: (Kent Mitchell)
Subject: Re: Does memory leak?
Date: 1995/03/31
Message-ID: <3lhdjd$>#1/1
X-Deja-AN: 100649473
distribution: world
references: <3kopao$>  <3kvccb$>
organization: Rational Software Corporation
newsgroups: comp.lang.ada

Norman H. Cohen ( wrote:
: The only programs I know of with deliberate memory leaks are those whose
: executions are short enough, and whose target machines have enough
: virtual memory space, that running out of memory is not a concern.
: (This class of programs includes many student programming exercises and
: some simple applets and utilities; it includes few if any embedded or
: safety-critical programs.)

This sparked and interesting memory for me.  I was once working with a
customer who was producing on-board software for a missile.  In my analysis
of the code, I pointed out that they had a number of problems with storage
leaks.  Imagine my surprise when the customers chief software engineer said
"Of course it leaks".  He went on to point out that they had calculated the
amount of memory the application would leak in the total possible flight time
for the missile and then doubled that number.  They added this much
additional memory to the hardware to "support" the leaks.  Since the missile
will explode when it hits it's target or at the end of it's flight, the
ultimate in garbage collection is performed without programmer intervention.

Kent Mitchell                   | One possible reason that things aren't
Technical Consultant            | going according to plan is .....
Rational Software Corporation   | that there never *was* a plan!

Tags: garbage collection, humor, nonfiction, programming.