The curse of the redefinition of the symbol HLOG

Raymond Chen

A customer was running into a compiler error complaining about redefinition of the symbol HLOG.

#include <pdh.h>
#include <lm.h>


The result is

lmerrlog.h(80): error C2373: 'HLOG' redefinition; different type modifiers
pdh.h(70): See declaration of 'HLOG'

“Our project uses both performance counters (pdh.h) and networking (lm.h). What can we do to avoid this conflict?”

We’ve seen this before. The conflict arises from two problems.

First is hubris/lack of creativity. “My component does logging. I need a handle to a log. I will call it HLOG because (1) I can’t think of a better name, and/or (2) obviously I’m the only person who does logging. (Anybody else who wants to do logging should just quit their job now because it’s been done.)”

This wouldn’t normally be a problem except that Win32 uses a global namespace. This is necessary for annoying reasons:

  • Not all Win32 languages support namespaces.
  • Even though C++ supports namespaces, different C++ implementations decorate differently, so there is no agreement on the external linkage. (Indeed, the decoration can change from one version of the C++ compiler to another!)

Fortunately, in the case of HLOG, the two teams noticed the collision and came to some sort of understanding. If you include them in the order

#include <lm.h>
#include <pdh.h>

then pdh.h detects that lm.h has already been included and avoids the conflicting definition.

typedef PDH_HLOG     HLOG;

The PDH log is always accessible via the name PDH_HLOG. If lm.h was not also included, then the PDH log is also accessible under the name HLOG.

Sorry for the confusion.


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