What types have all valid bit patterns


If the only UB is that the example prints any number, that’s different to it allowing remote code execution, for instance. But I guess that it’s best just to think of UB as a black box where anything (including the worst possible thing) can happen.


Right, it should be considered a black box. It’s certainly interesting to see what happens in practice on a particular compiler version, but that’s mostly just intellectual curiosity.


Just to make it clear, both C and Rust consider undefined behavior to be anything goes. The compiler is free to make literally anything happen including, but not at all limited to, segfaults.


Although it’s been mentioned in many other threads, I haven’t seen it in this one. Some architectures, most notably Itanium, detect and fault on [edit: read] references to uninitialized memory. The fact that all bit patterns in an initialized memory cell are valid does not imply that the same memory cell can be read when uninitialized.

Exploring different implementations of the same functionality in optimized assembly

It is best to think that. Sure, that specific toy program in the Playground might behave a particular way on a particular architecture, but what if the UB were part of a larger actively developed program? Who knows what might happen as code is added or removed or rearranged and the optimizer consequently gets a different view of the program.

And tbh even a black box approach isn’t sufficient. UB’s effects can potentially manifest anywhere in a program, not just at the site where the bad behavior is introduced.