[erlang-patches] Patch for term_to_binary() stack overflow

Bjorn Gustavsson <>
Wed Mar 11 08:15:45 CET 2009

On Tue, Mar 10, 2009 at 11:40 PM, Jan Lehnardt <> wrote:
> Dear OTP Team,
> https://issues.apache.org/jira/browse/COUCHDB-275 describes an issue
> with Erlang's term_to_binary() BIF and includes a patch. The core of the
> issue is that term_to_binary() is implemented in a recursive C function
> that blows the stack when converting deeply nested term structures. We
> see this when people try to read deeply nested JSON structures that we
> convert from Erlang terms to binaries representing JSON for delivery.
> The easiest way to reproduce this is
> term_to_binary(lists:foldl(fun(E,A) -> [E, A] end, [], lists:seq(1,
> 100000))).
> See https://issues.apache.org/jira/secure/attachment/12401866/term_to_binary_fix.diff
> for a non-recursive version of term_to_binary().
> How do other projects deal with this issue? If there is no workaround,
> is
> it possible to apply the patch in the next OTP release?

We will not include the suggested patch in OTP.

However, we do intend to fix the problem as soon as possible,
in a way that degrades performance as little as possible,
possibly already in the R13B release.

Björn Gustavsson, Erlang/OTP, Ericsson AB

More information about the erlang-patches mailing list