This is an unofficial snapshot of the ISO/IEC JTC1 SC22 WG21 Core Issues List revision 112e. See for the official list.


445. Wording issue on friend declarations

Section: 11.8.4  [class.friend]     Status: NAD     Submitter: Risto Lankinen     Date: 5 Dec 2003

Thus says the section 11.8.4 [class.friend]/7 in ISO 14882 C++ standard:

A name nominated by a friend declaration shall be accessible in the scope of the class containing the friend declaration.

The obvious intention of this is to allow a friend declaration to specify a function (or nested class, enum, etc.) that is declared "private" or "protected" in its enclosing class. However, literal interpretation seems to allow a broader access to the befriended function by the whole class that is declaring the friendship.

If the rule were interpreted literally as it is currently written, this would compile (when it, of course, shouldn't be allowed at all):

class C
  static void f();

class D
  friend void C::f();  // A name nominated by friend declaration...

   C::f();  // ... shall be accessible in scope of class declaring friendship

Suggested fix is to reword "in the scope of the class containing the friend declaration" to exclude all other references from the scope of the declaring class, except the friend-declaration itself.

Notes from the March 2004 meeting:

We considered this and concluded that the standard is clear enough.