Sections in this file describe: - introduction and overview - low-level vs. high-level API - version numbers - options to the configure script - ABI stability policy Introduction === D-Bus is a simple system for interprocess communication and coordination. The "and coordination" part is important; D-Bus provides a bus daemon that does things like: - notify applications when other apps exit - start services on demand - support single-instance applications See http://www.freedesktop.org/software/dbus/ for lots of documentation, mailing lists, etc. See also the file HACKING for notes of interest to developers working on D-Bus. If you're considering D-Bus for use in a project, you should be aware that D-Bus was designed for a couple of specific use cases, a "system bus" and a "desktop session bus." These are documented in more detail in the D-Bus specification and FAQ available on the web site. If your use-case isn't one of these, D-Bus may still be useful, but only by accident; so you should evaluate carefully whether D-Bus makes sense for your project. Note: low-level API vs. high-level binding APIs === A core concept of the D-Bus implementation is that "libdbus" is intended to be a low-level API. Most programmers are intended to use the bindings to GLib, Qt, Python, Mono, Java, or whatever. These bindings have varying levels of completeness and are maintained as separate projects from the main D-Bus package. The main D-Bus package contains the low-level libdbus, the bus daemon, and a few command-line tools such as dbus-launch. If you use the low-level API directly, you're signing up for some pain. Think of the low-level API as analogous to Xlib or GDI, and the high-level API as analogous to Qt/GTK+/HTML. Version numbers === D-Bus uses the common "Linux kernel" versioning system, where even-numbered minor versions are stable and odd-numbered minor versions are development snapshots. So for example, development snapshots: 1.1.1, 1.1.2, 1.1.3, 1.3.4 Stable versions: 1.0, 1.0.1, 1.0.2, 1.2.1, 1.2.3 All pre-1.0 versions were development snapshots. Development snapshots make no ABI stability guarantees for new ABI introduced since the last stable release. Development snapshots are likely to have more bugs than stable releases, obviously. Configuration === dbus could be build by using autotools or cmake. When using autotools the configure step is initiated by running ./configure with our without additional configuration flags. When using cmake the configure step is initiated by running the cmake program with our without additional configuration flags. Configuration flags === When using autools the dbus-specific configuration flags that can be given to the ./configure program are these --enable-tests enable unit test code --enable-verbose-mode support verbose debug mode --enable-asserts include assertion checks --enable-checks include sanity checks on public API --enable-xml-docs build XML documentation (requires xmlto) --enable-doxygen-docs build DOXYGEN documentation (requires Doxygen) --enable-gcov compile with coverage profiling instrumentation (gcc only) --enable-abstract-sockets use abstract socket namespace (linux only) --enable-selinux build with SELinux support --enable-dnotify build with dnotify support (linux only) --enable-kqueue build with kqueue support (*BSD only) --with-xml=libxml/expat XML library to use --with-init-scripts=redhat Style of init scripts to install --with-session-socket-dir=dirname Where to put sockets for the per-login-session message bus --with-test-socket-dir=dirname Where to put sockets for make check --with-system-pid-file=pidfile PID file for systemwide daemon --with-system-socket=filename UNIX domain socket for systemwide daemon --with-console-auth-dir=dirname directory to check for console ownerhip --with-dbus-user=<user> User for running the DBUS daemon (messagebus) --with-gnu-ld assume the C compiler uses GNU ld [default=no] --with-tags[=TAGS] include additional configurations [automatic] --with-x use the X Window System When using the cmake build system the dbus-specific configuration flags that can be given to the cmake program are these (use -D<key>=<value> on command line) CMAKE_BUILD_TYPE set dbus build mode - one of Debug|Release|RelWithDebInfo|MinSizeRel DBUS_BUILD_TESTS enable unit test code default=ON DBUS_BUILD_X11 Build X11-dependent code default=ON HAVE_CONSOLE_OWNER_FILE enable console owner file (solaris only) ) default=ON DBUS_DISABLE_ASSERTS Disable assertion checking default=OFF DBUS_DISABLE_CHECKS Disable public API sanity checking default=OFF DBUS_ENABLE_ABSTRACT_SOCKETS enable support for abstract sockets (linux only) default=ON DBUS_ENABLE_ANSI enable -ansi -pedantic gcc flags default=OFF DBUS_ENABLE_DNOTIFY build with dnotify support (linux only) default=ON DBUS_ENABLE_VERBOSE_MODE support verbose debug mode default=ON DBUS_ENABLE_DOXYGEN_DOCS build DOXYGEN documentation (requires Doxygen) default=ON DBUS_GCOV_ENABLED compile with coverage profiling instrumentation (gcc only) default=OFF DBUS_INSTALL_SYSTEM_LIBS install required system libraries default (windows only) =OFF DBUS_USE_EXPAT Use expat (== ON) or libxml2 (==OFF) default=ON  DBUS_USE_NONCE_TCP_DEFAULT_ADDRESS Use nonce tcp default address default=OFF DBUS_USE_OUTPUT_DEBUG_STRING enable win32 debug port for message output default=OFF  requires installed development package of the related dependency API/ABI Policy === Now that D-Bus has reached version 1.0, the objective is that all applications dynamically linked to libdbus will continue working indefinitely with the most recent system and session bus daemons. - The protocol will never be broken again; any message bus should work with any client forever. However, extensions are possible where the protocol is extensible. - If the library API is modified incompatibly, we will rename it as in http://ometer.com/parallel.html - in other words, it will always be possible to compile against and use the older API, and apps will always get the API they expect. Interfaces can and probably will be _added_. This means both new functions and types in libdbus, and new methods exported to applications by the bus daemon. The above policy is intended to make D-Bus as API-stable as other widely-used libraries (such as GTK+, Qt, Xlib, or your favorite example). If you have questions or concerns they are very welcome on the D-Bus mailing list. NOTE ABOUT DEVELOPMENT SNAPSHOTS AND VERSIONING Odd-numbered minor releases (1.1.x, 1.3.x, 2.1.x, etc. - major.minor.micro) are devel snapshots for testing, and any new ABI they introduce relative to the last stable version is subject to change during the development cycle. Any ABI found in a stable release, however, is frozen. ABI will not be added in a stable series if we can help it. i.e. the ABI of 1.2.0 and 1.2.5 you can expect to be the same, while the ABI of 1.4.x may add more stuff not found in 1.2.x. NOTE ABOUT STATIC LINKING We are not yet firmly freezing all runtime dependencies of the libdbus library. For example, the library may read certain files as part of its implementation, and these files may move around between versions. As a result, we don't yet recommend statically linking to libdbus. Also, reimplementations of the protocol from scratch might have to work to stay in sync with how libdbus behaves. To lock things down and declare static linking and reimplementation to be safe, we'd like to see all the internal dependencies of libdbus (for example, files read) well-documented in the specification, and we'd like to have a high degree of confidence that these dependencies are supportable over the long term and extensible where required. NOTE ABOUT HIGH-LEVEL BINDINGS Note that the high-level bindings are _separate projects_ from the main D-Bus package, and have their own release cycles, levels of maturity, and ABI stability policies. Please consult the documentation for your binding.