memory leak

Computing Dictionary

memory leak definition

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]
(2003-10-07)
The Free On-line Dictionary of Computing, © Denis Howe 2010 http://foldoc.org
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