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SubjectRe: [patch] Input cleanups for 2.5.29 [2/2]

On Tue, 30 Jul 2002, Jeff Garzik wrote:
>
> Agreed, but u16 is even better :) Why use the '__' prefix when standard
> kernel types do not need them?

The __ thing is actually fairly useful, for a few reasons

- "u16" is namespace pollution and mustn't be exported by standard
user-level header files, since a program might use it as a variable
name.

- it shows which things are purely krnel internal (u16 is
kernel-internal, but a structure with __u16 is in a structure exported
to user space. Of course, some people seem to think that you should
always use the __u16 form, which is wrong. The underscores have
meaning, and the meaning is exactly that: exported to user space
headers as a size)

- typedef's are nasty, in that you cannot mix them. With a #define, you
can just have

#ifndef NULL
#define NULL ((void *)0)
#endif

and if everybody follows that convention, duplicating a few #defines
isn't a problem.

The same is _not_ true of typedefs. With typedefs, there can be only
one, and trying to avoid duplication with magic preprocessor rules
easily gets nasty. Sure, you can make up a rule like

#ifndef __typedef_xxxx_t
typedef ... xxxx_t;
#endif
but it's nowhere near as convenient as for #defines, and there is no
standard for this.

This nastiness is why everybody (including things like glibc) ends up
having to have an internal type and an external type anyway. Have you
ever wondered by the glibc header files internally use things like
__off_t, __locale_t etc? This is why. To avoid duplicate defines,
especially in the presense of complex #ifdef __BSD_SOURCE__ etc, the
internal type is defined unconditionally. The externally visible type
is only defined if it should be.

See the crap in <linux/types.h> on how the linux headers define things
like u_int8_t int8_t uint8_t depending on different #defines. Which is why
it is so convenient to have _one_true_ internal type (__u8) which you can
always depend on, regardless of who compiles you and with what options.

All the other types (inluding the "standard" uint8_t) simply cannot be
depended on.

Linus

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