Oracle® Solaris 11.2 Linkers and Libraries Guide

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Updated: July 2014

Direct Bindings and Interposition

Interposition can occur when multiple instances of a symbol, having the same name, exist in different dynamic objects that have been loaded into a process. Under the default search model, symbol references are bound to the first definition that is found in the series of dependencies that have been loaded. This first symbol is said to interpose on the other symbols of the same name.

Direct bindings can circumvent any implicit interposition. As the directly bound reference is searched for in the dependency associated with the reference, the default symbol search model that enables interposition, is bypassed. In a directly bound environment, bindings can be established to different definitions of a symbol that have the same name.

The ability to bind to different definitions of a symbol that have the same name is a feature of direct binding that can be very useful. However, should an application depend upon an instance of interposition, the use of direct bindings can subvert the applications expected execution. Before deciding to use direct bindings with an existing application, the application should be analyzed to determine whether interposition exists.

To determine whether interposition is possible within an application, use lari(1). By default, lari conveys interesting information. This information originates from multiple instances of a symbol definition, which in turn can lead to interposition.

Interposition only occurs when one instance of the symbol is bound to. Multiple instances of a symbol that are called out by lari might not be involved in interposition. Other multiple instance symbols can exist, but might not be referenced. These unreferenced symbols are still candidates for interposition, as future code development might result in references to these symbols. All instances of multiply defined symbols should be analyzed when considering the use of direct bindings.

If multiple instances of a symbol of the same name exist, especially if interposition is observed, one of the following actions should be performed.

  • Localize symbol instances to remove namespace collision.

  • Remove the multiple instances to leave one symbol definition.

  • Define any interposition requirement explicitly.

  • Identify symbols that can be interposed upon to prevent the symbol from being directly bound to.

The following sections explore these actions in greater detail.