Recently I've been quite busy and now I'm kind of scrounging back into C++ world. Friend of mine told me about IncludeOS project and I thought that it may be pretty good exercise to put my hands on my keyboard and help in this wonderful project.

To be honest, the learning curve is quite steep (or I'm getting too old to learn so fast) and I'm still distracted by a lot of other things, so no big deliverables so far... but by just watching discussion on Gitter and integrating it with what I know I spotted probably obvious, but a little bit surprising thing about std::queue.

std::queue is not a container. Wait, what?, you ask. It's a container adapter. It doesn't have implementation. Instead, it takes other implementation, uses it as underlying container and just provides some convenient interface for end-user. By the way it isn't the only one. There are others like std::stack and std::priority_queue to name a few.

One of the dimension in which C++ shines are options for customizing stuff. We can customize things like memory allocators. In container adapters we can customize this underlying container if we decide that the one chosen by library writers isn't good match for us.

By default, perhaps because std::queue requires fast access at the beginning and end, it's underlying container is std::deque. std::deque provides O(1) complexity for pushing/popping at both ends. Perfect match, isn't it?

Well, yes if you care about performance at the cost of increased binary size. As it turns out by simply changing std::deque to std::vector:

std::queue<int> qd;
std::queue<int, std::vector<int>> qv;

Generated assembly code for x86-64 clang 3.8 (-O3 -std=c++14) is 502 and 144 respectively.

I know that in most context binary size is secondary consideration, but still I believe it's an interesting fact that the difference is so big. In other words there must be a lot of things going on under the bonnet of std::deque. I don't recommend changing deque to vector in production - it can seriously damage your performance.

You can play around with the code here: (code based on Voultapher example).