LibVLC Memory Management

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Revision as of 13:45, 23 August 2007 by Pdherbemont (talk | contribs) (Initial Creation.)
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Todo: Improve readability.

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 equals 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.

Object that don't follow this rule:


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 );

Getters and Setters

Usually object Property 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 uses.
  • 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 retain the object prior returning it. That means you mustn't release it.