Title
Does extern "C" affect the linkage of function names with internal linkage?
Status
cd1
Section
9.11 [dcl.link]
Submitter
Mike Anderson

Created on 1998-10-24.00:00:00 last changed 162 months ago

Messages

Date: 2001-04-15.00:00:00

[Moved to DR at 4/01 meeting.]

Date: 2000-10-15.00:00:00

Proposed resolution (04/01):

  1. Change the first sentence of 9.11 [dcl.link] paragraph 1 from

    All function types, function names, and variable names have a language linkage.

    to

    All function types, function names with external linkage, and variable names with external linkage have a language linkage.
  2. Change the following sentence of 9.11 [dcl.link] paragraph 4:
    In a linkage-specification, the specified language linkage applies to the function types of all function declarators, function names, and variable names introduced by the declaration(s).

    to

    In a linkage-specification, the specified language linkage applies to the function types of all function declarators, function names with external linkage, and variable names with external linkage declared within the linkage-specification.
  3. Add at the end of the final example on 9.11 [dcl.link] paragraph 4:

        extern "C" {
          static void f4();    // the name of the function f4 has
                               // internal linkage (not C language
                               // linkage) and the function's type
                               // has C language linkage
        }
        extern "C" void f5() {
          extern void f4();    // Okay -- name linkage (internal)
                               // and function type linkage (C
                               // language linkage) gotten from
                               // previous declaration.
        }
        extern void f4();      // Okay -- name linkage (internal)
                               // and function type linkage (C
                               // language linkage) gotten from
                               // previous declaration.
        void f6() {
          extern void f4();    // Okay -- name linkage (internal)
                               // and function type linkage (C
                               // language linkage) gotten from
                               // previous declaration.
        }
    
  4. Change 9.11 [dcl.link] paragraph 7 from

    Except for functions with internal linkage, a function first declared in a linkage-specification behaves as a function with external linkage. [Example:

        extern "C" double f();
        static double f();     // error
    

    is ill-formed (9.2.2 [dcl.stc]). ] The form of linkage-specification that contains a braced-enclosed declaration-seq does not affect whether the contained declarations are definitions or not (6.2 [basic.def]); the form of linkage-specification directly containing a single declaration is treated as an extern specifier (9.2.2 [dcl.stc]) for the purpose of determining whether the contained declaration is a definition. [Example:

        extern "C" int i;      // declaration
        extern "C" {
    	  int i;           // definition
        }
    

    end example] A linkage-specification directly containing a single declaration shall not specify a storage class. [Example:

        extern "C" static void f(); // error
    

    end example]

    to

    A declaration directly contained in a linkage-specification is treated as if it contains the extern specifier (9.2.2 [dcl.stc]) for the purpose of determining the linkage of the declared name and whether it is a definition. Such a declaration shall not specify a storage class. [Example:
        extern "C" double f();
        static double f();     // error
        extern "C" int i;      // declaration
        extern "C" {
    	    int i;         // definition
        }
        extern "C" static void g(); // error
    

    end example]

Date: 2000-10-15.00:00:00

Notes from 10/00 meeting:

After further discussion, the core language working group determined that the more extensive proposal described above is not needed and that the following changes are sufficient.

Date: 2000-04-15.00:00:00

Notes from 04/00 meeting:

The following changes were tentatively approved, but because they do not completely implement the proposal above the issue is being kept for the moment in "drafting" status.

Date: 2004-09-10.00:00:00

9.11 [dcl.link] paragraph 6 says the following:

    At most one of a set of overloaded functions with a particular name can have C linkage.
Does this apply to static functions as well? For example, is the following well-formed?
        extern "C" {
            static void f(int) {}
            static void f(float) {}
        };
Can a function with internal linkage "have C linkage" at all (assuming that phrase means "has extern "C" linkage"), for how can a function be extern "C" if it's not extern? The function type can have extern "C" linkage — but I think that's independent of the linkage of the function name. It should be perfectly reasonable to say, in the example above, that extern "C" applies only to the types of f(int) and f(float), not to the function names, and that the rule in 9.11 [dcl.link] paragraph 6 doesn't apply.

Suggested resolution: The extern "C" linkage specification applies only to the type of functions with internal linkage, and therefore some of the rules that have to do with name overloading don't apply.

Proposed Resolution:

The intent is to distingush implicit linkage from explicit linkage for both name linkage and language (function type) linkage. (It might be more clear to use the terms name linkage and type linkage to distinguish these concepts. A function can have a name with one kind of linkage and a type with a different kind of linkage. The function itself has no linkage: it has no name, only the declaration has a name. This becomes more obvious when you consider function pointers.)

The tentatively agreed proposal is to apply implicit linkage to names declared in brace-enclosed linkage specifications and to non-top-level names declared in simple linkage specifications; and to apply explicit linkage to top-level names declared in simple linkage specifications.

The language linkage of any function type formed through a function declarator is that of the nearest enclosing linkage-specification. For purposes of determining whether the declaration of a namespace-scope name matches a previous declaration, the language linkage portion of the type of a function declaration (that is, the language linkage of the function itself, not its parameters, return type or exception specification) is ignored.

For a linkage-specification using braces, i.e.

extern string-literal { declaration-seqopt }
the linkage of any declaration of a namespace-scope name (including local externs) which is not contained in a nested linkage-specification, is not declared to have no linkage (static), and does not match a previous declaration is given the linkage specified in the string-literal. The language linkage of the type of any function declaration of a namespace-scope name (including local externs) which is not contained in a nested linkage-specification and which is declared with function declarator syntax is the same as that of a matching previous declaration, if any, else is specified by string-literal.

For a linkage-specification without braces, i.e.

extern string-literal declaration

the linkage of the names declared in the top-level declarators of declaration is specified by string-literal; if this conflicts with the linkage of any matching previous declarations, the program is ill-formed. The language linkage of the type of any top-level function declarator is specified by string-literal; if this conflicts with the language linkage of the type of any matching previous function declarations, the program is ill-formed. The effect of the linkage-specification on other (non top-level) names declared in declaration is the same as that of the brace-enclosed form.

Bill Gibbons: In particular, these should be well-formed:

    extern "C" void f(void (*fp)());   // parameter type is pointer to
                                       // function with C language linkage
    extern "C++" void g(void (*fp)()); // parameter type is pointer to
                                       // function with C++ language linkage

    extern "C++" {                     // well-formed: the linkage of "f"
        void f(void(*fp)());           // and the function type used in the
    }                                  // parameter still "C"

    extern "C" {                       // well-formed: the linkage of "g"
        void g(void(*fp)());           // and the function type used in the
    }                                  // parameter still "C++"

but these should not:

    extern "C++" void f(void(*fp)());  // error - linkage of "f" does not
                                       // match previous declaration
                                       // (linkage of function type used in
                                       // parameter is still "C" and is not
                                       // by itself ill-formed)
    extern "C" void g(void(*fp)());    // error - linkage of "g" does not
                                       // match previous declaration
                                       // (linkage of function type used in
                                       // parameter is still "C++" and is not
                                       // by itself ill-formed)

That is, non-top-level declarators get their linkage from matching declarations, if any, else from the nearest enclosing linkage specification. (As already described, top-level declarators in a brace-enclosed linkage specification get the linkage from matching declarations, if any, else from the linkage specifcation; while top-level declarators in direct linkage specifications get their linkage from that specification.)

Mike Miller: This is a pretty significant change from the current specification, which treats the two forms of language linkage similarly for most purposes. I don't understand why it's desirable to expand the differences.

It seems very unintuitive to me that you could have a top-level declaration in an extern "C" block that would not receive "C" linkage.

In the current standard, the statement in 9.11 [dcl.link] paragraph 4 that

the specified language linkage applies to the function types of all function declarators, function names, and variable names introduced by the declaration(s)

applies to both forms. I would thus expect that in

    extern "C" void f(void(*)());
    extern "C++" {
        void f(void(*)());
    }
    extern "C++" f(void(*)());

both "C++" declarations would be well-formed, declaring an overloaded version of f that takes a pointer to a "C++" function as a parameter. I wouldn't expect that either declaration would be a redeclaration (valid or invalid) of the "C" version of f.

Bill Gibbons: The potential difficulty is the matching process and the handling of deliberate overloading based on language linkage. In the above examples, how are these two declarations matched:

    extern "C" void f(void (*fp1)());

    extern "C++" {
        void f(void(*fp2)());
    }

given that the linkage that is part of fp1 is "C" while the linkage (prior to the matching process) that is part of fp2 is "C++"?

The proposal is that the linkage which is part of the parameter type is not determined until after the match is attempted. This almost always correct because you can't overload "C" and "C++" functions; so if the function names match, it is likely that the declarations are supposed to be the same.

Mike Miller: This seems like more trouble than it's worth. This comparison of function types ignoring linkage specifications is, as far as I know, not found anywhere in the current standard. Why do we need to invent it?

Bill Gibbons: It is possible to construct pathological cases where this fails, e.g.

    extern "C" typedef void (*PFC)();  // pointer to "C" linkage function
    void f(PFC);         // parameter is pointer to "C" function
    void f(void (*)());  // matching declaration or overload based on
                         // difference in linkage type?

It is reasonable to require explicit typedefs in this case so that in the above example the second function declaration gets its parameter type function linkage from the first function declaration.

(In fact, I think you can't get into this situation without having already used typedefs to declare different language linkage for the top-level and parameter linkages.)

For example, if the intent is to overload based on linkage a typedef is needed:

    extern "C" typedef void (*PFC)();  // pointer to "C" linkage function
    void f(PFC);              // parameter is pointer to "C" function
    typedef void (*PFCPP)();  // pointer to "C++" linkage function
    void f(PFCPP);            // parameter is pointer to "C++" function

In this case the two function declarations refer to different functions.

Mike Miller: This seems pretty strange to me. I think it would be simpler to determine the type of the parameter based on the containing linkage specification (implicitly "C++") and require a typedef if the user wants to override the default behavior. For example:

    extern "C" {
        typedef void (*PFC)();    // pointer to "C" function
        void f(void(*)());        // takes pointer to "C" function
    }

    void f(void(*)());            // new overload of "f", taking
                                  // pointer to "C++" function

    void f(PFC);                  // redeclare extern "C" version
History
Date User Action Args
2008-10-05 00:00:00adminsetstatus: wp -> cd1
2003-04-25 00:00:00adminsetstatus: dr -> wp
2002-05-10 00:00:00adminsetmessages: + msg667
2001-05-20 00:00:00adminsetstatus: ready -> dr
2000-11-18 00:00:00adminsetmessages: + msg396
2000-11-18 00:00:00adminsetmessages: + msg395
2000-11-18 00:00:00adminsetstatus: drafting -> ready
2000-05-21 00:00:00adminsetmessages: + msg344
1998-10-24 00:00:00admincreate