Using Cow with the Vec/slice ToOwned impl for creating a recursive type fails to typecheck due to overflow #38962

sdroege opened this Issue Jan 10, 2017 · 1 comment


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sdroege commented Jan 10, 2017 edited

See the following code

use std::borrow::Cow;

// Does not work either: #[derive(Clone)]
enum Foo<'a> {
    // Does not work:
    Bar(Cow<'a, [Foo<'static>]>),
    // Works: Bar(Vec<Foo<'a>>),
    Baz(&'a str),

impl<'a> Clone for Foo<'a> {
    fn clone(&self) -> Self {

fn main() {}

This currently fails to compile with

error[E0275]: overflow evaluating the requirement `<[Foo<'a>] as std::borrow::ToOwned>::Owned`
5 |     Bar(Cow<'a, [Foo<'a>]>),
  |         ^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^
  = note: required because it appears within the type `Foo<'a>`
  = note: required because of the requirements on the impl of `std::borrow::ToOwned` for `[Foo<'a>]`
  = note: required because it appears within the type `std::borrow::Cow<'a, [Foo<'a>]>`
  = note: only the last field of a struct may have a dynamically sized type

However in the end the Cow here is just an enum that is either a &[Foo] or a Vec (the ToOwned instance of [T] uses Vec for the owned variant), both having a known size and thus this all should really work, or am I missing something?

Is this a bug, a missing feature or can't this possibly work?

sdroege commented Jan 11, 2017

Something like

    BarBorrowed(&'a [Foo<'a>]),

Also works FWIW (and then implementing Clone accordingly). Is the compiler for whatever reason evaluating the plain [Foo<'static>] here, although the traits never use it directly?

Independent of that, I also see another problem here when using Cow: the lifetime of Foo. For the Borrowed variant of Cow it should be 'a (&'a [Foo<'a>]), for the Owned variant it should be 'static (i.e. Vec<Foo<'static>>, it's cloned after all). This does not seem to be possible at all currently

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