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V2593. MISRA. Single-bit bit fields sho…
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V2593. MISRA. Single-bit bit fields should not be declared as signed type.

Jun 07 2021

This diagnostic rule is based on the software development guidelines developed by MISRA (Motor Industry Software Reliability Association).

This rule is only relevant to C.

Don't declare single-bit bit fields as a signed type. According to the standard C99 §6.2.6.2C99 § 6.2.6.2, a single-bit bit field of a signed type has one bit for the sign and zero - for values. With any representation of integers, zero significant bits can't specialize any significant number.

Although C90 has no such description, the rule applies also for this version of the standard.

Consider an example:

struct S
{
  int a : 1;
};

void foo()
{
  struct S s;
  s.a = 1;

  if (s.a > 0)
  {
    DoWork();
  }
}

The bit field is explicitly assigned '1' and must be positive. But the check for this will fail—'1' in the 's.a' field may be interpreted differently. It depends on the compiler implementation. To compare types, they will be cast to the 'int' type. The result is '-1' (0xFFFFFFFF). So, the 'DoWork()' function will not be executed because the condition '-1 > 0' is false. Correct option:

struct S
{
  unsigned a : 1;
};

void foo()
{
  struct S s;
  s.a = 1u;

  if (s.a > 0u)
  {
    DoWork();
  }
}

The exception is unnamed bit fields, because one can't use a value from such a field:

struct S
{
  int a : 31;
  int : 1;    // ok
};

This diagnostic is classified as:

  • MISRA-C-6.2
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