'char *malloc()' and 'conflicting types for malloc'?

I've had a few months experience with C/C++ and I'm looking at a pretty old program for someone. The program gives compiling errors "conflicting types for 'malloc'" for every line in the program that is, "extern char * malloc();". I'm unfamiliar with prototypes, and I was... show more I've had a few months experience with C/C++ and I'm looking at a pretty old program for someone. The program gives compiling errors "conflicting types for 'malloc'" for every line in the program that is, "extern char * malloc();". I'm unfamiliar with prototypes, and I was wondering if anyone could explain what 'extern char * malloc();' means. Commenting out the lines makes the program compile, but I would still like to learn about it.

Thanks.
Update: If the program runs properly with correct outputs with char * malloc() commented out, should I still worry?
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