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Computing (FOLDOC) dictionary
buffer overflow
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programming What happens when you try to store more data in
a buffer than it can handle. This may be due to a mismatch
in the processing rates of the producing and consuming
processes (see overrun and firehose syndrome), or because
the buffer is simply too small to hold all the data that must
accumulate before a piece of it can be processed. For
example, in a text-processing tool that crunches a line at a
time, a short line buffer can result in lossage as input
from a long line overflows the buffer and overwrites data
beyond it. Good defensive programming would check for
overflow on each character and stop accepting data when the
buffer is full.