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41. Fundamentals of Shared Libraries > Compatible Versus Incompatible Libraries

Compatible Versus Incompatible Libraries

Over time, we may need to make changes to the code of a shared library. Such changes result in a new version of the library that is either compatible with previous version(s), meaning that we need to change only the minor version identifier of the library’s real name, or incompatible, meaning that we must define a new major version of the library.

A change to a library is compatible with an existing library version if all of the following conditions hold true:

  • The semantics of each public function and variable in the library remain unchanged. In other words, each function keeps the same argument list, and continues to produce its specified effect on global variables and returned arguments, and returns the same result value. Thus, changes that result in an improvement in performance or fix a bug (resulting in closer conformance to specified behavior) can be regarded as compatible changes.


  

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