When is a trivially copyable object not trivially copyable?

Subtitled, “The Itanium ABI ruins everything, again.”

Answer number one: A trivially copyable object is not trivially copyable when it is volatile. Godbolt:

struct S {
    volatile int i;

void foo(S *dst, S *src, int n) {
    std::copy_n(src, n, dst);

Both libc++ and libstdc++ have implementations of std::copy_n that optimize volatile loads and stores into memcpy, which causes tearing of reads and writes.

I have written a draft proposal [EDIT 2019-04-13: published as P1153R0 “Copying volatile subobjects is not trivial”] — coauthored with JF Bastien, and seeking as many coauthors as possible! — to solve this problem once and for all.

Answer number two: A trivially copyable object is not trivially copyable when it is a potentially overlapping subobject. Wandbox:

struct A { int a; };
struct B : A { char b; };
struct C : B { short c; };

static_assert(!std::is_standard_layout<B>::value, "");
static_assert(std::is_trivially_copyable<B>::value, "");

int main()
    C c1 { 1, 2, 3 };
    B& dst = c1;
    const B& src = C{ 5, 6, 7 };

    printf("before operator=: %d\n", int(c1.c));  // 3
    dst = src;
    printf("after operator=: %d\n", int(c1.c));  // 3

    printf("before std::copy: %d\n", int(c1.c));  // 3
    std::copy_n(&src, 1, &dst);
    printf("after std::copy: %d\n", int(c1.c));  // 7

I’m not yet sure what is the right fix for this issue at the WG21 level, but I believe it deserves to be fixed somehow.

Posted 2018-07-13