memory leak

<programming> A leak in a program's dynamic store allocation logic that causes it to fail to reclaim memory in the heap after it has finished using it, eventually causing the program to fail due to lack of memory.

These problems were severe on older machines with small, fixed-size address spaces, and special "leak detection" tools were written to diagnose them.

The introduction of virtual memory made memory leaks a less serious problem, although if you run out of virtual memory, it means you've got a *real* leak!

See aliasing bug.

[Jargon File]

Last updated: 2003-10-07

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Nearby terms:

memory address space « memory dump « memory farts « memory leak » memory location » memory management » Memory Management Unit

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