RGenGC is generational garbage collection algorithm arranged for MRI/CRuby introduced from Ruby 2.1.
RGenGC (mostly) keeps compatibility.
= For extension writes
Generally, the use of the technique called write barriers is required in
extension libraries for generational GC
RGenGC works fine without write barriers in extension libraries.
If your library adheres to the following tips, performance can
be further improved. Especially, the "Don't touch pointers directly" section is
You can't write RBASIC(obj)->klass field directly because it is const
Basically you should not write this field because MRI expects it to be
an immutable field, but if you want to do it in your extension you can
use the following functions:
VALUE rb_obj_hide(VALUE obj) ::
Clear RBasic::klass field. The object will be an internal object.
ObjectSpace::each_object can't find this object.
VALUE rb_obj_reveal(VALUE obj, VALUE klass) ::
Reset RBasic::klass to be klass.
We expect the `klass' is hidden class by rb_obj_hide().
== Write barriers
RGenGC doesn't require write barriers to support generational GC.
However, caring about write barrier can improve the performance of
RGenGC. Please check the following tips.
=== Don't touch pointers directly
In MRI (include/ruby/ruby.h), some macros to acquire pointers to the
internal data structures are supported such as RARRAY_PTR(),
RSTRUCT_PTR() and so on.
DO NOT USE THESE MACROS and instead use the corresponding C-APIs such as
rb_ary_aref(), rb_ary_store() and so on.
=== Consider whether to insert write barriers
You don't need to care about write barriers if you only use built-in
If you support T_DATA objects, you may consider using write barriers.
Inserting write barriers into T_DATA objects only works with the
following type objects: (a) long-lived objects, (b) when a huge number
of objects are generated and (c) container-type objects that have
references to other objects. If your extension provides such a type of
T_DATA objects, consider inserting write barriers.
(a): short-lived objects don't become old generation objects.
(b): only a few oldgen objects don't have performance impact.
(c): only a few references don't have performance impact.
Inserting write barriers is a very difficult hack, it is easy to
introduce critical bugs. And inserting write barriers has several areas
of overhead. Basically we don't recommend you insert write barriers.
Please carefully consider the risks.
=== Combine with built-in types
Please consider utilizing built-in types. Most built-in types support
write barrier, so you can use them to avoid manually inserting write
For example, if your T_DATA has references to other objects, then you
can move these references to Array. A T_DATA object only has a reference
to an array object. Or you can also use a Struct object to gather a
T_DATA object (without any references) and an that Array contains
With use of such techniques, you don't need to insert write barriers
=== Insert write barriers
[AGAIN] Inserting write barriers is a very difficult hack, and it is
easy to introduce critical bugs. And inserting write barriers has
several areas of overhead. Basically we don't recommend you insert write
barriers. Please carefully consider the risks.
Before inserting write barriers, you need to know about RGenGC algorithm
(gc.c will help you). Macros and functions to insert write barriers are
available in in include/ruby/ruby.h. An example is available in iseq.c.
NOTE: The following core interfaces can be changed in the future. Please catch up if you want to insert WB into C-extensions correctly.
Write barrier macros:
RB_OBJ_WRITE(a, slot, b) ::
WB for new reference from
slot' is a pointer ina'.
RB_OBJ_WRITTEN(a, oldv, b)::
WB for new reference from
This doesn't write any values, but only a WB declaration.
oldv' is replaced value withb' (not used in current Ruby).
See source code carefully to insert write barriers.