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Subject: Re: [boost] Boost.DLL formal review is ongoing
From: Paul A. Bristow (pbristow_at_[hidden])
Date: 2015-07-14 06:53:11

> -----Original Message-----
> From: Boost [mailto:boost-bounces_at_[hidden]] On Behalf Of William Gallafent
> Sent: 14 July 2015 11:10
> To: boost_at_[hidden]
> Subject: Re: [boost] Boost.DLL formal review is ongoing
> On 13 July 2015 at 21:24, Antony Polukhin <antoshkka_at_[hidden]> wrote:
> > I was trying to keep namings platform neutral: "dynamic library" is
> > too Windows specific, "shared object" is too POSIX specific... Let it
> > bee DLL for library abbreviation and "shared object" mostly in docs
> > and source codes.
> On Mac OS, the files in question are generally named “libSomething.dylib”, whereas on Windows the
> equivalent file would be “something.dll”. That seems to directly contradict your assertion that
> “dynamic library” is more Windows-specific, since “dylib” looks more like a contraction of that phrase
> than “dll” to me.
> More generally, and fwiw, in my mind I connect “DLL” very tightly to Windows, to the extent that if
> somebody says “DLL” I think “we're talking about something which is exclusively related to Windows”.
> I tend to use instead the term “shared library” when referring to these files in a platform-neutral way
> (in other words, when I say “shared library” I mean .dll on Windows, .dylib on Mac OS, and .so on
> Linux, for example). In that way (none of these platforms uses a contraction of “shared library” as its
> way of visually identifying these files in the filesystem) I try to separate cross-platform discussion from
> platform-specific discussion. To me, “shared object” feels, as you say, very POSIX-specific.
> By way of comparison, the “file” utility on this Mac OS machine returns, for example,
> “/opt/local/lib/libgtk-3.0.dylib: Mach-O 64-bit dynamically linked shared library x86_64”. A similar
> example on Ubuntu
> Linux: “/lib/ ELF 64-bit LSB shared object, x86-64, version 1 (SYSV), dynamically linked,
> BuildID[sha1]=0x8776ddf840d71df11e0f99388074338a4dbc05c7, stripped”.
> Finally, on Windows I see of course
> “/cygdrive/c/Windows/System32/ntdll.dll: PE32+ executable (DLL)
> (console) x86-64, for MS Windows”.
> There is in fact no /shared/ nomenclature between all three at all there (because DLLs /are/
> executables on Windows!). Something which has the right connotations but which isn't the
> terminology returned by that utility, or used as a filesystem contraction, for any specific platform
> seems ideal.

Of course - but Bill clearly demonstrates that there is no perfect answer to this. Any new 'portable' term would just confuse everyone!

But DLL is short and sweet, and a glance at the documentation will reveal that the library is *not* Windows specific. Perhaps it stands for Dynamic Linked-things Loader?


Paul A. Bristow
Prizet Farmhouse
Kendal UK LA8 8AB
+44 (0) 1539 561830
> Apologies for the fact that my comments are purely in the area of nomenclature!

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