The function definitions provided by Gnulib (
.c code) are meant
to be compiled by a C compiler. The header files (
on the other hand, can be used in either C or C++.
By default, when used in a C++ compilation unit, the
declare the same symbols and overrides as in C mode, except that functions
defined by Gnulib or by the system are declared as ‘extern "C"’.
It is also possible to indicate to Gnulib to provide many of its symbols
in a dedicated C++ namespace. If you define the macro
GNULIB_NAMESPACE to an identifier, many functions will be defined
in the namespace specified by the identifier instead of the global
namespace. For example, after you have defined
#define GNULIB_NAMESPACE gnulib
at the beginning of a compilation unit, Gnulib’s
file will make available the
open function as
open will still refer to the system’s
with its platform specific bugs and limitations.
The symbols provided in the Gnulib namespace are those for which the
corresponding header file contains a
_GL_CXXALIAS_SYS macro invocation.
The benefits of this namespace mode are:
openhas to be overridden, Gnulib normally does
#define open rpl_open. If your package has a class with a member
open, for example a class
foowith a method
foo::open, then if you define this member in a compilation unit that includes
<fcntl.h>and use it in a compilation unit that does not include
<fcntl.h>, or vice versa, you will get a link error. Worse: You will not notice this problem on the platform where the system’s
openfunction works fine. This problem goes away in namespace mode.
gnulib::openin your code, and you forgot to request the module ‘open’ from Gnulib, you will get a compilation error (regardless of the platform).
The drawback of this namespace mode is that the system provided symbols in
the global namespace are still present, even when they contain bugs that
Gnulib fixes. For example, if you call
open (...) in your code,
it will invoke the possibly buggy system function, even if you have
requested the module ‘open’ from gnulib-tool.
You can turn on the namespace mode in some compilation units and keep it turned off in others. This can be useful if your package consists of an application layer that does not need to invoke POSIX functions and an operating system interface layer that contains all the OS function calls. In such a situation, you will want to turn on the namespace mode for the application layer—to avoid many preprocessor macro definitions—and turn it off for the OS interface layer—to avoid the drawback of the namespace mode, mentioned above.