bytestring-mmap-0.2.0: mmap support for strict ByteStrings

Portabilitynon-portable -- posix only
MaintainerDon Stewart <>



Lazy, chunk-wise memory mapping.

Memory map a file as a lazy ByteString. Finalisers are associated cached-sized portions of the file, which will be deallocated as those chunks go out of scope.

Unlike strict Bytestrings, mmapFile for Lazy ByteStrings will deallocate chunks of the file.

The storage manager is used to free chunks of the mapped memory. When the garbage collector notices there are no further references to a chunk, a call to munmap is made.

In effect, the file is mmapped once, lazily, then covered with finalizers for each chunk. When any chunk goes out of scope, that part is deallocated. We must allocate the spine of the structure strictly though, to ensure finalizers are registered for the entire file.

The Haskell garbage collector decides when to run based on heap pressure, however the mmap stores memory outside the Haskell heap, so those resources are not counted when deciding to run the garbage collect. The result is that finalizers run less often than you might expect, and it is possible to write a lazy bytestring mmap program that never deallocates (and thus doesn't run in constant space). performGC or finalizerForeignPtr can be used to trigger collection at sensible points.

Note: this operation may break referential transparency! If any other process on the system changes the file when it is mapped into Haskell, the contents of your ByteString will change.



unsafeMMapFile :: FilePath -> IO ByteStringSource

The unsafeMMapFile function maps a file or device into memory as a lazy ByteString, made of 64*pagesize unmappable chunks of bytes.

Memory mapped files will behave as if they were read lazily -- pages from the file will be loaded into memory on demand.

The storage manager is used to free chunks that go out of scope, and unlike strict bytestrings, memory mapped lazy ByteStrings will be deallocated in chunks (so you can write traversals that run in constant space).

However, the size of the mmapped resource is not known by the Haskell GC, it appears only as a small ForeignPtr. This means that the Haskell GC may not not run as often as you'd like, leading to delays in unmapping chunks.

Appropriate use of performGC or finalizerForeignPtr may be required to ensure deallocation, as resources allocated by mmap are not tracked by the Haskell garbage collector.

For example, when writing out a lazy bytestring allocated with mmap, you may wish to finalizeForeignPtr when each chunk is written, as the chunk goes out of scope, rather than relying on the garbage collector to notice the chunk has gone.

This operation is unsafe: if the file is written to by any other process on the system, the ByteString contents will change in Haskell.