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 UWA week 40 (2nd semester, week 10) ↓
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5:29am Tue 3rd Oct, Christopher M.

ANONYMOUS wrote:
> Do we need to free absolutely everything that we've malloc'd after the program finishes syncing and is about to exit? It's my understanding that when a process terminates, it's memory is freed automatically so it's sort of unneeded unless you wanted to extend the program, even if it might be bad practice.
Your understanding is correct, a terminating process's memory is returned to the OS for other processes (existing and new) to use. So any allocated memory use in/for long-term data structures need not be freed. However, as a general practice, you should try to free memory that you only require for a short time. For example, if you allocate memory at the top of a loop, and use it only within the loop, then you should free it at the bottom of the loop, rather than letting it become disconnected garbage in your program:
for(int i=0 ; ....) {
    char *p = malloc(...);

    // use p's memory

    free(p);
}

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