[Rd] Request: Increasing MAX_NUM_DLLS in Rdynload.c

Karl Millar kmillar at google.com
Wed Dec 21 18:42:44 CET 2016

It does, but you'd still be relying on the R code ensuring that all of
these objects are dead prior to unloading the DLL, otherwise they'll
survive the GC.  Maybe if the package counted how many such objects
exist, it could work out when it's safe to remove the DLL.  I'm not
sure that it can be done automatically.

What could be done is to to keep the DLL loaded, but remove it from
R's table of loaded DLLs.  That way, there's no risk of dangling
function pointers and a new DLL of the same name could be loaded.  You
could still run into issues though as some DLLs assume that the
associated namespace exists.

Currently what I do is to never unload DLLs.  If I need to replace
one, then I just restart R.  It's less convenient, but it's always

On Wed, Dec 21, 2016 at 9:10 AM, Henrik Bengtsson
<henrik.bengtsson at gmail.com> wrote:
> On Tue, Dec 20, 2016 at 7:39 AM, Karl Millar <kmillar at google.com> wrote:
>> It's not always clear when it's safe to remove the DLL.
>> The main problem that I'm aware of is that native objects with
>> finalizers might still exist (created by R_RegisterCFinalizer etc).
>> Even if there are no live references to such objects (which would be
>> hard to verify), it still wouldn't be safe to unload the DLL until a
>> full garbage collection has been done.
>> If the DLL is unloaded, then the function pointer that was registered
>> now becomes a pointer into the memory where the DLL was, leading to an
>> almost certain crash when such objects get garbage collected.
> Very good point.
> Does base::gc() perform such a *full* garbage collection and thereby
> trigger all remaining finalizers to be called?  In other words, do you
> think an explicit call to base::gc() prior to cleaning out left-over
> DLLs (e.g. R.utils::gcDLLs()) would be sufficient?
> /Henrik
>> A better approach would be to just remove the limit on the number of
>> DLLs, dynamically expanding the array if/when needed.
>> On Tue, Dec 20, 2016 at 3:40 AM, Jeroen Ooms <jeroen.ooms at stat.ucla.edu> wrote:
>>> On Tue, Dec 20, 2016 at 7:04 AM, Henrik Bengtsson
>>> <henrik.bengtsson at gmail.com> wrote:
>>>> On reason for hitting the MAX_NUM_DLLS (= 100) limit is because some
>>>> packages don't unload their DLLs when they being unloaded themselves.
>>> I am surprised by this. Why does R not do this automatically? What is
>>> the case for keeping the DLL loaded after the package has been
>>> unloaded? What happens if you reload another version of the same
>>> package from a different library after unloading?
>>> ______________________________________________
>>> R-devel at r-project.org mailing list
>>> https://stat.ethz.ch/mailman/listinfo/r-devel

More information about the R-devel mailing list