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"logical name" of importable headers

From: Daniel Ruoso <daniel_at_[hidden]>
Date: Thu, 2 Jun 2022 11:57:11 -0400

I have been trying to work on laying out the requirements for the
metadata format for modules distributed in pre-built libraries, and,
in that context, I started thinking about how we describe importable

While for named modules we have a clear understanding that the build
system needs to assemble an unambiguous mapping of the logical name to
a specific translation unit ahead of time, the same is not as clearly
true for importable headers.

My main current question is:

    Is it a requirement that the primary source file for
    a header unit being imported matches the source
    file that would be included given the specific
    compiler arguments?

Let me try to give an example, let's say that:

 1. libraries "foo", "bar" and "baz" are being used by a single project.

 2. library "foo" contains a header file named "a/bad/name.h" in the
include directory that it advertises (e.g.:
/usr/include/foo/a/bad/name.h, with -I/usr/include/foo).

 3. library "bar" also contains a header files named "a/bad/name.h"
and "a/bad/other.h" in its include directory (e.g.:
/usr/include/bar/a/bad/name.h and /usr/include/bar/a/bad/other.h, with

 4. library "baz" install other headers, and unfortunately ends up
adding an include directory that overlaps with library "bar" (e.g.:

 5. library "bar" advertises that "a/bad/name.h" and "a/bad/other.h"
are importable headers

 6. the translation unit of a project ends up with "-I/usr/include/foo
-I/usr/include/bar -I/usr/include/bar/a" in the command line arguments
for its translation units.

 6. filea.cpp does "import <a/bad/name.h>"

 7. fileb.cpp does "#include <a/bad/name.h>"

 8. filec.cpp does "import <bad/other.h>"

 9. filed.cpp does "#include <bad/other.h>"

Given this scenario, here's a few questions:

 A. Should filea.cpp ignore the incoherent -I arguments and assume
that the importable header can only mean the one that was advertised?
Or should the build system and the compiler work together to map the
import statement to a specific resolution and error when trying to
translate filea.cpp since foo's header is not importable?

 B. Since "a/bad/name.h" is an importable header, is the compiler free
to optimize away the include directive in fileb.cpp? Or should it work
with the build system to determine that in this particular translation
it cannot do that optimization?

 C. Even though library "bar" meant to offer <a/bad/other.h>, the
incidental include statement added by library "baz" results in
<bad/other.h> being a valid name for inclusion. Should filec.cpp find
the same header unit and import it? Or should it give an error because
the interface is not being used as expected?

 D. Given that "#include <bad/other.h>" results in the inclusion of
the same file that was advertised as an importable header, should the
compiler be allowed to replace the include statement in filed.cpp by
an import?

I hope this is clear enough...


Received on 2022-06-02 15:57:23