LibVLC Memory Management

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Revision as of 01:36, 3 February 2012 by Edwardw (talk | contribs) (+category)
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Reference Counting

LibVLC uses a certain number of objects. Each one maintains a references count, which is used to know when the object must be released. The three related functions are:

  • libvlc_object_name_new() Create an object with a refcount equal to 1.
  • libvlc_object_name_retain() Increment the object refcount by 1.
  • libvlc_object_name_release() Decrement the refcount by 1, and release the object if the new refcount is less than zero.


libvlc_exception_t e;
libvlc_exception_init( &e );

libvlc_media_list_t * p_ml = libvlc_media_list_new( libvlc_inst, &e)

/* Free the memory used by media_list release */
libvlc_media_list_release( p_ml );

Objects that don't follow this rule

  • libvlc_exception_t: Those are not pointers
  • libvlc_event_manager_t: Those are supposed to be accessed only during the life of their parent libvlc_* object.

Getters and Setters

Usually object properties are set through getters and setters.

  • Usually getters are in the form:


  • Setters are:


  • Variations:
    • Setter: libvlc_media_list_add_media_descriptor
    • Getter: libvlc_media_list_item_at_index

For setters and getters the memory management rules are:

  • Getters internally retain the object before returning it, so is means you must release the object after use.
  • Setters internally retain the object, so basically you never need to keep the object around.

(This also applies to strings where retain is strdup and release is free)

Notable exceptions to those rules are:

  • libvlc_object_name_event_manager: This getter never retains the object prior returning it. That means you mustn't release it.