In C++, I'm wondering why the bool type is 8 bits long (on my system), where only one bit is enough to hold the boolean value ?
I used to believe it was for performance reasons, but then on a 32 bits or 64 bits machine, where registers are 32 or 64 bits wide, what's the performance advantage ?
Or is it just one of these 'historical' reasons ?
Because every C++ data type must be addressable.
How would you create a pointer to a single bit? You can't. But you can create a pointer to a byte. So a boolean in C++ is typically byte-sized. (It may be larger as well. That's up to the implementation. The main thing is that it must be addressable, so no C++ datatype can be smaller than a byte)
Memory is byte addressable. You cannot address a single bit, without shifting or masking the byte read from memory. I would imagine this is a very large reason.