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Subject: Re: [boost] The problems with Boost development
From: Steve M. Robbins (steve_at_[hidden])
Date: 2010-03-21 19:38:24

On Fri, Mar 19, 2010 at 06:49:29PM +0300, Vladimir Prus wrote:
> Daniel James wrote:
> > On 19 March 2010 08:14, Vladimir Prus <ghost_at_[hidden]> wrote:
> >>
> >> So, I would like to ask that everybody
> >> who is somehow involved in *development* -- whether in writing code, triaging bugs,
> >> sending patches, or managing thing, list three most important problems with Boost now.
> >
> > I'll reply to this properly later, I just want to say that we should
> > also take into account the difficultly we cause distributions. I was
> > surprised to see us mentioned alongside much more high profile
> > projects here:
> >
> >
> >
> > But I don't think it was a complement. We didn't pay much attention to
> > this post at the time, but probably should have:
> >
> >
> That is unfortunately a completely different set of problems. On one hand,
> we have problems that are perceived on the developing side. On another hand,
> we have problems on the using side -- where lack of any API or ABI stability
> is surely an important concern -- but solving that concern actually requires
> more work from developers, and even, I think, more centralization. There's
> no doubt Debian folks or any other packagers will not be happy about 90 libraries
> on a separate release schedule.

Actually, Debian currently builds 38 packages from each boost release:
each library that builds a dynamic lib has its own package and
corresponding development package. Moving these to their own release
schedule would (assuming many are slower than 4 releases/year)
actually be welcomed!

The trouble we face in Debian is that each Boost release brings an
interesting new library that someone inevitably wants to use, so we
try to package each release of Boost. This, in turn, forces an
upgrade on all the other boost components. The lack of stable API
(never mind ABI) causes a lot of turmoil each time this happens.

My hope, for what it's worth, is that the mature libraries of Boost
could be released much more slowly. This could also help in the
cadence issue Mark Shuttleworth raises, at least for the mature


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