Early version of Sun's Java compiler supported
a visibility modifier called private protected
in addition to the
private protected was dropped from the
JDK between the 1.0 the 1.0.1 releases.
According to my first edition copy of
Java in a Nutshell,
the meaning of private protected is as follows:
A private protected method or variable is
only visible within its own class and within any subclasses.
Classes may not be private protected. A subclass
can access the private protected fields
inherited by its instances, but it cannot access those
fields in instances of the superclass.
But its meaning may have changed several times between
the time it was introduced and when it was finally removed.
I always thought private protected was meant to
be a restricted form of protected. See,
protected has this nasty quirk in
that it allows access to other classes
in the same package -- even ones that are not
subclasses -- as well as subclasses in other
packages. The ability to disallow access to stuff
in the same package would be a good thing, IMHO.