Inside the mysys directory is a file named my_bitmap.c. It contains functions for manipulating bitmaps. Specifically there are functions for setup or teardown (bitmap_init, bitmap_free), for setting and clearing individual bits or whole sections of the bitmap (bitmap_set_bit, bitmap_fast_test_and_set, bitmap_clear_all, bitmap_set_all, bitmap_set_prefix, bitmap_set_above), and for performing comparisons and set operations on two bitmaps (bitmap_cmp, bitmap_intersect, bitmap_subtract, bitmap_union). Bitmaps are useful, so the functions are called from several places (opt_range.cc, slave.cc, mysqld.c, sql_insert.cc, log_event.cc, sql_show.cc) and we're expecting to make more use of them in the next version of MySQL, MySQL 5.1.
There are a few warnings and limitations that apply for the present bitmap implementation. First: the allocation is an integral number of bytes, and it is not possible to determine whether the last few bits are meaningful. Second: the whole bitmap might have to be protected by a mutex for manipulations; this is settable by passing appropriate flag values. Third: the bitmap is allocated with a 'uint' size, which means that ordinarily it can't have more than 2^32 bytes. Fourth: when unioning two bitmaps, they must be of the same size.