Namespaces and inter-library private symbols

Jeffrey Altman jaltman at
Wed Nov 11 22:11:55 EST 2009

ghudson at wrote:

> I would like to better understand why we have the accessors and when it
> should be used, if ever.  I consider it an overly heavyweight solution
> to the problem.  Tom tells me that the initial justification had
> something to do with Windows, but he didn't have details.

I don't remember the introduction of the accessors as having anything to
do with Windows in particular.  The problem was the pollution of the
export name space from shared libraries and the desire to be able to
change the names and parameters of truly internal private functions that
must be used by gssapi without being forced to change the signature of
the of the library.

Symbols that are exported by libraries are inevitably used even when
they are declared private.  The only way to ensure that third parties do
not place dependencies on a function is to not export it.

Jeffrey Altman
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