Document numberP0302R1
ProjectProgramming Language C++, Library Working Group
Reply-toJonathan Wakely <>

Removing Allocator Support in std::function (rev 1)


The class template std::function has several constructors that take an allocator argument, but the semantics are unclear, and there are technical issues with storing an allocator in a type-erased context and then recovering that allocator later for any allocations needed during copy assignment. Those constructors should be removed.

Changes since P0302R0


The GCC standard library has never provided those constructors at all. The libc++ implementation declares the constructors but ignores the allocator arguments. The MSVC implementation uses the allocator on construction, but does not reuse the allocator if the target is replaced by assignment, which means allocator propagation is not supported.

There have been a number of issues with allocator support in std::function:

The attempts to fix allocator support in function using polymorphic memory resources (see std::experimental::function in Library Fundamentals TS) are not without their own issues (2527, 2564).

It is clear that allocator support in std::function is poorly-specified and the source of implementation divergence. I propose that we remove the relevant constructors.

Since these constructors could not be used portably or reliably, I do not see a need for a feature test macro to indicate their absence.

Technical Specification

Remove the constructors taking allocators from [func.wrap.func].

Edit the class synopsis in [func.wrap.func] to remove constructors taking allocators:

      //, construct/copy/destroy:
      function() noexcept;
      function(nullptr_t) noexcept;
      function(const function&);
      template<class F> function(F);
      template<class A> function(allocator_arg_t, const A&) noexcept;
      template<class A> function(allocator_arg_t, const A&,
      nullptr_t) noexcept;
      template<class A> function(allocator_arg_t, const A&,
      const function&);
      template<class A> function(allocator_arg_t, const A&,
      template<class F, class A> function(allocator_arg_t, const A&, F);

Edit the class synopsis in [func.wrap.func] to remove the uses_allocator partial specialization:

    //, specialized algorithms:
    template <class R, class... ArgTypes>
      void swap(function<R(ArgTypes...)>&, function<R(ArgTypes...)>&);
    template<class R, class... ArgTypes, class Alloc>
      struct uses_allocator<function<R(ArgTypes...)>, Alloc>
        : true_type { };

Edit [func.wrap.func.con]:

1 When any function constructor that takes a first argument of type allocator_arg_t is invoked, the second argument shall have a type that conforms to the requirements for Allocator (Table A copy of the allocator argument is used to allocate memory, if necessary, for the internal data structures of the constructed function object.

  function() noexcept;
  template <class A> function(allocator_arg_t, const A& a) noexcept;

2 Postconditions: !*this.

  function(nullptr_t) noexcept;
  template <class A> function(allocator_arg_t, const A& a, nullptr_t) noexcept;

3 Postconditions: !*this.

  function(const function& f);
  template <class A> function(allocator_arg_t, const A& a, const function& f);

4 Postconditions: !*this if !f; otherwise, *this targets a copy of

5 Throws: shall not throw exceptions if f's target is a callable object passed via reference_wrapper or a function pointer. Otherwise, may throw bad_alloc or any exception thrown by the copy constructor of the stored callable object. [Note: Implementations are encouraged to avoid the use of dynamically allocated memory for small callable objects, for example, where f's target is an object holding only a pointer or reference to an object and a member function pointer. — end note]

  function(function&& f);
  template <class A> function(allocator_arg_t, const A& a, function&& f);

6 Effects: If !f, *this has no target; otherwise, move-constructs the target of f into the target of *this, leaving f in a valid state with an unspecified value.

7 Throws: shall not throw exceptions [...]

  template<class F> function(F f);
  template <class F, class A> function(allocator_arg_t, const A& a, F f);

8 Requires: F shall be CopyConstructible.

9 Remarks: These constructorsThis constructor shall not participate in overload resolution unless f is Callable ( for argument types ArgTypes... and return type R.

Create a new entry in Annex C with the following content:

C.4.5 Clause 20: General utilities library [diff.cpp14.utilities]

Change: Constructors taking allocators removed.
Rationale: No implementation consensus.
Effect on original feature: Valid C++ 2014 code may fail to compile or may change meaning in this International Standard. Specifically, constructing a std::function with an allocator is ill-formed and uses-allocator construction will not pass an allocator to std::function constructors in this International Standard.