What are the "serious" libraries?

Joe Nelson joe at begriffs.com
Sun Apr 5 17:49:52 UTC 2020

Timothy J. Salo wrote:
> I'm not sure what a "serious" library is

What I mean by serious is this combination:

* Required painstaking work (e.g. ncurses cross-terminal abstraction)
  or specialist knowledge (e.g. crypto algorithms)
* Available on many platforms and callable from many languages

Zooming out a little about my motivation, I've been wondering what the
best use of my time would be for learning tech topics. What topics are
going to allow me to do cool new things, and also not become quickly
obsolete? I thought that identifying and learning serious libraries
would be a good contender.

> but it seems to me that pretty much any such list ought to include
> glibc.

Good point. Looks like glibc provides an implementation of both the C
standard library, and POSIX.1-2008. Wikipedia identifies some other
implementations as well: BSD libc, dietlibc, μClibc, Newlibc, klibc,
musl, Bionic.

Looks like BSD libc also has some extensions to the standard.
Fragmentation pains me, I wish the implementations would stick to the
spec and then offer the extensions as another library. That way you
wouldn't have to buy into the whole platform. Or maybe you can use BSD
libc even on Mac and Linux? Is that possible?

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