NetBSD Problem Report #11191

Received: (qmail 15349 invoked from network); 10 Oct 2000 22:57:17 -0000
Message-Id: <>
Date: Wed, 11 Oct 2000 00:57:16 +0200 (MEST)
From: Paul Kranenburg <>
Subject: the `com_err' library is not useful
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>Number:         11191
>Category:       lib
>Synopsis:       the `com_err' library is not useful
>Confidential:   no
>Severity:       serious
>Priority:       high
>Responsible:    lib-bug-people
>State:          open
>Class:          change-request
>Submitter-Id:   net
>Arrival-Date:   Tue Oct 10 22:58:00 +0000 2000
>Last-Modified:  Wed Oct 25 20:25:21 +0000 2000
>Originator:     Paul Kranenburg
>Release:        NetBSD-current & NetBSD 1.5ALPHA


System: NetBSD sam 1.5E NetBSD 1.5E (SAM) #74: Sun Sep 10 00:35:00 MEST 2000 pk@sam:/usr/src/sys/arch/sparc/compile/SAM sparc

	The `com_err' library that is installed as part of the heimdal
	kerberos installation does not provide sufficiently useful
	features to applications. While in theory this library could be
	used as a generic messages manager for applications, there are
	currently no NetBSD applications moving towards such usage
	outside of the kerberos context (and, given the lack of
	documentation, I must assume that there isn't going to be an
	attempt to change this anytime soon).

	Add to this the fact that the two main functions exported from
	this library, com_err() and error_message(), don't even work as
	(apparently) expected by applications that call them in a
	kerberos context.

	Also note that the heimdal kerberos V library already provides
	alternative means of presenting kerberos-related messages
	(krb{5}_err(), which _do_ work.
	Nuke the `com_err' library from /usr/lib, and move the contents
	as internal utility routines into kerberos library. This will
	also prevent the rather silly `error_message' symbol from intruding
	into the application's name space.

	Fix all kerberos applications by having them use krb_err(),
	krb_warn(), krb_get_err_text(), etc, which will have the
	bonus side-effect of actually producing intelligible messages.

From: Bill Sommerfeld <>
Subject: Re: lib/11191: the `com_err' library is not useful 
Date: Tue, 10 Oct 2000 19:19:02 -0400

 documentation for com_err is available in texinfo format; i'll see
 about making sure it gets into the tree if it's not there yet.

 					- Bill

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