I understand that the "mm" suffix [in various GTK-associated C++ binding libraries] means "minus minus," but where exactly does it come from?

I understand that there is a programming language called "C--," but if there were bindings (and I'm pretty sure I've seen some), they would be suffixed "--".

TL;DR: Is there some page on gnu.org that explains the "mm" suffix in various C++ bindings or is it just a de facto standard adopted by the open source community with no reasoning behind it?

  • Voices are that -- originally came from the strongly opinionated view that C was a superior language and C++ was just a necessary evil. It was then changed in mm for the reasons stated in @Stephen's answer. May 5, 2015 at 12:19
  • "Voices are"? We're going to need a much better citation than that. It could just as easily be suffixed -- because it subtracts so much of the boilerplate tedium associated with using plain C gtk/glib. I'm very impressed by what they managed to do with C, but let's not pretend it looks nice. But until someone provides a proper explanation, my guess is no better than yours - although at least I properly qualified it as a guess. Jan 1, 2016 at 17:31

1 Answer 1


From gtkmm's documentation:

gtkmm was originally named gtk-- because GTK+ already has a + in the name. However, as -- is not easily indexed by search engines the package generally went by the name gtkmm, and that's what we stuck with.

  • This surface explanation is so easy to find that a much better question would have been why they originally used --. But, alas, I've not seen one (and "Voices are" doesn't cut it). Jan 1, 2016 at 17:32

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