Boost logo

Boost :

From: Victor A. Wagner, Jr. (vawjr_at_[hidden])
Date: 2004-02-17 01:57:57

At Monday 2004-02-16 07:31, you wrote:
>"Victor A. Wagner, Jr." <vawjr_at_[hidden]> writes:
> >>Actually, I'm little surprised that this thread has not come (yet) to
> >>the issue of supporting old compilers. IMVHO, when it comes to testing,
> >>these compilers are real problem.
> >
> > when it comes to writing/updating the libraries, support of these
> > fossils is staggeringly expensive.
>I just want to point out that the "fossils" with major conformance
>problems are still in extremely wide use in industry, and some are
>even the latest official releases (see Borland). One of my most
>progressive and forward-thinking clients is still using vc6 for
>production work. They're anxious to upgrade to vc7.1, but haven't yet
>had the opportunity. I'd love to stop hacking around vc6 and borland
>limitations, but we should be sure we understand what we're doing when
>that day comes.

I understand the pain of updating, and I understand even more the pain of
working with stuff that is flat out broken.

This will no doubt sound very arrogant to many, but IMO, we've coddled
Microsoft for WAY to long. They almost killed C++ by their steadfast
refusal for many years to NOT adhere to the standard, and the only way we
could have pressured them would have been to drop support for their broken
compiler (VC6.0 IS broken, make NO mistake about it). How many (wo)man
years have been wasted by the human race making workarounds for a compiler
that was broken shortly after it was released?
Everyone seems to forget that Microsoft publicly announced that the
wouldn't make their C++ ISO conformant because "Our customers are more
interested in backwards compatibility than in standards conformance."

How many more (wo)man years will we waste by telling people "it's ok, you
don't have to upgrade, we'll do all the hard work for your broken compiler" ?
Is this how we make progress? I mean, it's _only_ been 5 years since the
standard was approved.

If you'd love to stop, then stop.
"they haven't had the opportunity".... and as long as you keep doing the
workarounds for them they don't have a compelling reason to upgrade. I
certainly hope you get paid well for the pain.

Support doesn't just impact the users of these fossils, it affects all of
us. We have to wait longer for things to be released.
We have to slow down our compiles doing all the #ifdef BROKEN_COMPILER_3
stuff in the headers

We have difficulty reading the source because of all the workarounds tucked in.
Workarounds don't necessarily get removed when the compiler is "fixed".
I see messages from VC6 users that are having problems w/ parts of boost...
it takes my time to skip over them in the EMail, it takes bandwidth and
disk space. It's been, what?, 2 years now since Microsoft replaced
VC6.0? How long are we going to be held back by a company that _clearly_
wanted to bury C++ 7 years ago? In some sense we seem to be suffering from
the same thing that battered spouses suffer. We're afraid to leave, even
when there is clearly a better alternative.

I note with approval that Spirit 1.8 has dropped support for "substantially
non-conforming" compilers.

I believe we know the consequences "when the day comes".
I think the day went some time ago.

>Dave Abrahams
>Boost Consulting
>Unsubscribe & other changes:

Victor A. Wagner Jr.
The five most dangerous words in the English language:
               "There oughta be a law"

Boost list run by bdawes at, gregod at, cpdaniel at, john at