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Subject: Re: [boost] Are warnings acceptable artifacts from builds?
From: Stewart, Robert (Robert.Stewart_at_[hidden])
Date: 2009-09-11 15:06:08

Emil Dotchevski wrote:
> On Fri, Sep 11, 2009 at 11:31 AM, Stewart, Robert
> <Robert.Stewart_at_[hidden]> wrote:
> > Disabling a warning, provided the scope is controlled, is fine.
> Yes, but with GCC you can't control the scope.

Right. That's a failing of GCC as far as I'm concerned.

> > A company may craft a warnings policy, used whenever building code,
> > that always disables select warnings, too, but that doesn't
> > violate the zero warnings policy.
> My point exactly. This confirms that it is preferable, for that
> company, to disable some warnings instead of "fixing" them.

Disabling some warnings *is* the appropriate fix and I've never claimed otherwise.

> This in turn leads to another interesting question: why don't they fix
> such warnings anyway? After all, that's what they're asking library
> developers to do for them, right? At least in some cases, I'm sure,
> the answer is "because that would do more harm than good" (as far as
> this particular company is concerned.)

If there is no good way to change the library code to prevent some particular warning from a compiler, then that should be documented and user's should be told that it can be silenced only by disabling that warning. I've never suggested the need to do more in that case.

If there *is* a way to change the library code to prevent a warning, then it is reasonable to want the library author/maintainer to do so.

> Therefore, if a library developer "fixes" a warning, some companies
> would consider that helpful, and some would consider it harmful

A change to the library code to silencing a warning would never be considered harmful unless it broke backward compatibility -- which Boost doesn't guarantee -- or it introduced a bug. The latter is a risk, of course, with any change, but should be vetted quickly enough.

Rob Stewart robert.stewart_at_[hidden]
Software Engineer, Core Software using std::disclaimer;
Susquehanna International Group, LLP

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