> Basically, this is glibmm limitation for now.

I can see no way that this is any fault or limitation of glibmm's. It is
rather a simple fact of any language supporting reference semantics: You
can't (safely, usefully) have a reference of a given type unless you have
an instance of that type, with at least the same lifetime as that of the

You have a char* but want to return a Glib::ustring&; these are not
compatible facts. So, the Glib::ustring must be created whenever requested,
and returned by value. If you want to return a Glib::ustring&, keep a
Glib::ustring somewhere, and use a reference to that.
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