Once upon an API

Even a seemingly simple API can turn out to have complex and surprising behaviors, as I illustrate by looking at an API feature that was added to the Linux kernel in 1997 and considering how it interacts (and has evolved) with other parts of the Linux API. These kinds of complexities and surprises of course create pain for user-space programmers, and so I consider some of the reasons that these API design problems occur and some possible mitigations.

Michael Kerrisk