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View Thread: MS working on a same compiler for C++ AND C# ! Not in 'incubation' but for production !
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    , SteveRichter wrote

    I thought the lesson learned by the designers of the GC was that reference counting was slower than garbage collecting. 

    Reference counting is orders of magnitude faster than performing a GC.

    The reason .NET and other managed languages choose a GC is it detects circular references.

    Consider a linkedlist with reference counting:

    func main()

    LinkedListNode i = new LLNode();
    // ref count of i = 1
    LinkedListNode j = new LLNode();
    // ref count of j = 1
    i->Flink = j;
    // ref count of i = 2
    j->Blink = i;
    // ref count of j = 2

    i = nullptr;
    // ref count of i = 1
    j = nullptr
    // ref count of j = 1


    So now we've leaked i and j. Nobody points to them, but their ref-count is 1 (and hence won't be deleted) since i points to j and j points to i.

    GC solves this problem by saying that both i and j are not reachable at the end of main, and hence are eligible for collection.