limit on size of arrays inside a struct in C?

Posted on 2003-04-01
Medium Priority
Last Modified: 2010-04-15
Hopefully someone knows the answer to this:

This program will work:

#include <stdio.h>

#define WIDTH 600
#define HEIGHT 600
double pix [HEIGHT][WIDTH] [3];
int main () {

  printf ("hello world\n");
  pix [100] [100] [0] = 100.0;

  return 0;


However, this one seg-faults:

#include <stdio.h>

#define WIDTH 600
#define HEIGHT 600
typedef struct {
  double pix [HEIGHT][WIDTH] [3];
int main () {

  IMG_T img;

  printf ("hello world\n");
  img.pix [100] [100] [0] = 100.0;

  return 0;


So, my thought was that having the information in a struct could
somehow be limiting the allowable size of the array.

This is being compiled using gcc 3.2.1 with OS Solaris8,
on both sparc and x86 platforms.

Any thoughts?

Question by:chmod101
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Accepted Solution

efn earned 200 total points
ID: 8247210
The problem in the second case is not that the array is in a structure, but that it's allocated from automatic storage instead of static storage, and it's too big for the automatic storage.

The array contains 1,080,000 doubles.  In the first case, a fixed area of memory is reserved for the array when the program is loaded.  As long as the machine has enough memory to run the program, this will work.  In the second case, the memory is allocated at run-time, typically from a stack.  There is a limit on the size to which the stack can grow, and the array does not fit within that limit.

There are usually platform-specific run-time options you can use to specify the size of the stack you want to give a process, so you might be able to run the second program if you fiddled with those.

Or if you simply move the declaration of img outside main, that should make it work.


Author Comment

ID: 8247610
GREAT, informative response.

Thank you for your prompt help,


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