Symbol versioning doesn't help there unless your applications explicitly state which versions of symbols they use (which none do because it's so annoying). Instead they implicitly rely on a GNU extension whereby a symbol with a @@ between name and version (rather than a single @) becomes the default version and is used if none is specified. This is invariably the latest symbol version available for that library. So you don't gain backcompat: what you gain is forward-compat (until you relink, anyway).
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