Friday, December 28, 2012

Bowels of the Memory Manager ...

With cases stacking up, I got used to ignore all those testimonies that pretend that "Malloc is the killer, I've seen him". I wouldn't trade Malloc's skin for my oldest pair of gloves, as he's always the first one people blame.
Bah. People. What do they know about crime, after all...

Hopefully, I have other noses for such cases, so I paid a visit and showed him the shots Coroner GDB gave me from the victim.
At first, Tracemem pretended to know nothing about that laying frame... he always does, until I provide him hexadecimal evindence he can't deny, as the victim's and suspects addresses.
"Free(man) is cheating you", he finally dropped, panting. "Look at those figures: these are not even addresses. I have no idea what this is, but this is certainly not addresses".
"When you've got no idea, Tracemem, it usually means you've seen them last week. I don't need idea, I need info. Tell me what you know".
"Okay, okay" he added "take it easy... You shouldn't mess up with those guys, really. They're trading bare hex they compile themselves in a hideout they name "AnimEDS". They say they can make you move in ways you've never experienced before. I don't have anything to do with these guys, right ? I just serve drinks when people order. I don't want any trouble".

I'd lost almost half a week, and all I know is that the last address where Free had been seen is fake, and actually a room in a building owned by someone else in the AnimEDS gang. Not yet enough to get the cavalry moving. I had need for another vision of the problem. I went to Doc Xygen and showed him the remains of GameScript. "I want descriptions", I insisted, "don't puzzle me with line numbers". I didn't tell him that pictures in malloc.h were made up from archives, but that's the best way to make him sing. With his usual frenzy, Doc Xygen started to show all the connection he could find. Among the expected ones, however, there were surprising exchanges. "Wait, SpriteSet got some cans from Malloc and directly sell them back to Free ?" I asked.
"Elementary", the Doc said, "SpriteSet is low on stack. With only 16K brutto, he's got to rent space to Malloc&Free for his loading activities on the docks.
Nothing to worry about. But ... hmmm ... *this* is interesting", he said, drawing a red circle around a triangle of pictures among the boxes and arrow he had scribbled all over the desk. "Interresting?"
"Clearly", he said. "Look, GobAnim and GameScript both tried to sell back some cans to Free, a few cycles from each other! Both pretending that they had the exclusivity on products by A'n'Im Eds"
"So they would have a tussle next to Free's place just as Malloc was going out!?"
"Of course", added the Doc. "Malloc gets back the cans that Free buys to the dockers, optionnally clears them and sells them back to other dockers. Everyone blame them, but noone else has cans to provide ..."

I fixed my hat and thanked the doctor: Malloc & Free's dubious activities are none of my business. I had a name to give to my client, and he'd be able to deliver his new product in due time. Happy clients make larger checks.

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