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Meaning of MEMORY LEAK

Computing Dictionary

An error in a program's dynamic store allocation logic that causes it to fail to reclaim discarded memory, leading to eventual collapse due to running out of memory. Also (especially at cmu) called core leak. These problems were severe on older machines with small, fixed-size address spaces, and special "leak detection" tools were commonly written to root them out.

With the advent of virtual memory, it is unfortunately easier to be sloppy about wasting a bit of memory (although when you run out of virtual memory, it means you've got a *real* leak!).

See aliasing bug, fandango on core, smash the stack, precedence lossage, overrun screw, leaky heap, leak.

[jargon file]