Common mistake with GtkMenu

While hacking on Empathy, I discovered that most GtkMenu were leaked everywhere in the code. It looks like a common mistake so I decided to blog about it. Maybe other projects are doing that as well. For me it’s something new I learned recently, sorry if everybody was already aware of that 🙂

How it works

gtk_menu_new() returns an initially unowned widget. It means that its refcount is 1 and the floating flag is set. When you call gtk_menu_popup() on it, an ref is temporarily added as long as the menu is shown. That means that its refcount is now 2 and the floating flag is still set.

Popup and forget

If you want to show the menu and forget, then after calling gtk_menu_popup() you have to clear the floating flag using g_object_ref_sink() then drop the ref you own using g_object_unref(). Like that the menu will only have 1 ref that will be dropped as soon as the menu is popped down. So your menu will be finalized.

Reuse your menu

If you want to keep a pointer to your menu to reuse it, you have to attach the menu to a widget, using gtk_menu_attach_to_widget(). That means the widget will become owner of your menu because it calls g_object_ref_sink() and will make sure the GdkScreen on the menu is the same than on the attach widget. So if ‘self’ is your widget on which you want to popup a menu, simply do priv->menu = gtk_menu_new(); gtk_menu_attach_to_widget (menu, self, NULL); then you can do gtk_menu_popup(priv->menu) when you want. Like that your menu will be finalized in the same time as self.

Using GtkUIManager

If your menu comes from a GtkUIManager, then it is already owned by the ui manager. That means that as long as you own a ref to the manager, you can use the menu. I think you should still attach the menu to your widget to make sure the GdkScreen is handled correctly. Can someone confirm this?

2 thoughts on “Common mistake with GtkMenu”

  1. Interesting. If I’m using pygtk and at various points creating gtk.Menu() things and calling popup() on them, do I also need to explicitly kill them?

  2. I don’t know how pygtk deals with this. But you shouldn’t care about memory management in python, so probably they do the right thing… or it is a bug in pygtk…

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