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Posted 15 Mar 2019
Licenced MIT

Interview Question, Part 3

, 15 Mar 2019
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Interview question - analyze and point out what is wrong

I was given this piece of code to analyze and point out what’s wrong with it:

struct Base
    Base() { bar(); }
    virtual void foo() = 0;
    void bar() { foo(); }

struct Derived final : public Base
    virtual void foo() override {}

int main(int argc, char** argv)
    Derived d;
    return 1;

I was also able to compile and execute this program on my Mac; output from Xcode gives away the answer:

Program output:

libc++abi.dylib: Pure virtual function called!
Program ended with exit code: 9

But why? The constructor of Base calls void bar(), which in turn calls pure virtual void foo() = 0. The Derived overrides foo() so what’s the problem here?
Inside the constructor of Base, the type of this pointer is… Base. So the call to foo() inside bar() resolved to Base version of foo(), which is a pure virtual function lacking implementation. This is illegal and the compiler puts a check inside Base::foo() virtual function table pointing to __cxa_pure_virtual. That in turn calls __pthread_kill terminating the program.

__cxa_pure_virtual disassembly

    0x7fff723e8730 <+0>:  pushq  %rbp
    0x7fff723e8731 <+1>:  movq   %rsp, %rbp
    0x7fff723e8734 <+4>:  leaq   0x1f2f(%rip), %rdi        ; "Pure virtual function called!"
    0x7fff723e873b <+11>: xorl   %eax, %eax
    0x7fff723e873d <+13>: callq  0x7fff723dc14a            ; abort_message


Related discussion: C++ corner case: You can implement pure virtual functions in the base class.


This article, along with any associated source code and files, is licensed under The MIT License


About the Author

Martin Vorbrodt
Software Developer (Senior)
United States United States
No Biography provided

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Comments and Discussions

QuestionVirtual calls from constructors Pin
arhimede15-Mar-19 9:00
memberarhimede15-Mar-19 9:00 

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