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E.2 Pure Storage

Emacs Lisp uses two kinds of storage for user-created Lisp objects: normal storage and pure storage. Normal storage is where all the new data created during an Emacs session are kept (see Garbage Collection). Pure storage is used for certain data in the preloaded standard Lisp files—data that should never change during actual use of Emacs.

Pure storage is allocated only while temacs is loading the standard preloaded Lisp libraries. In the file emacs, it is marked as read-only (on operating systems that permit this), so that the memory space can be shared by all the Emacs jobs running on the machine at once. Pure storage is not expandable; a fixed amount is allocated when Emacs is compiled, and if that is not sufficient for the preloaded libraries, temacs allocates dynamic memory for the part that didn’t fit. The resulting image will work, but garbage collection (see Garbage Collection) is disabled in this situation, causing a memory leak. Such an overflow normally won’t happen unless you try to preload additional libraries or add features to the standard ones. Emacs will display a warning about the overflow when it starts. If this happens, you should increase the compilation parameter SYSTEM_PURESIZE_EXTRA in the file src/puresize.h and rebuild Emacs.

Function: purecopy object

This function makes a copy in pure storage of object, and returns it. It copies a string by simply making a new string with the same characters, but without text properties, in pure storage. It recursively copies the contents of vectors and cons cells. It does not make copies of other objects such as symbols, but just returns them unchanged. It signals an error if asked to copy markers.

This function is a no-op except while Emacs is being built and dumped; it is usually called only in preloaded Lisp files.

Variable: pure-bytes-used

The value of this variable is the number of bytes of pure storage allocated so far. Typically, in a dumped Emacs, this number is very close to the total amount of pure storage available—if it were not, we would preallocate less.

Variable: purify-flag

This variable determines whether defun should make a copy of the function definition in pure storage. If it is non-nil, then the function definition is copied into pure storage.

This flag is t while loading all of the basic functions for building Emacs initially (allowing those functions to be shareable and non-collectible). Dumping Emacs as an executable always writes nil in this variable, regardless of the value it actually has before and after dumping.

You should not change this flag in a running Emacs.

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