Subject: [boost] Deprecation Policy
From: Rob Stewart (rob.stewart_at_[hidden])
Date: 2015-05-16 13:40:30
Some Boost libraries are unmaintained, some are under-maintained, and others have been replaced by newer libraries or by the Standard Library. Boost needs to decide whether to deprecate such libraries, and if so, how and when to do it.
Please consider my initial thoughts below and provide ideas on such a policy. I will try to capture your ideas and create a policy statement for later review.
It would seem obvious that unmaintained libraries should be deprecated, but a library that works, even if it has some known bugs, doesn't grow worse over time. Thus, if an unmaintained library was included in one Boost release, continuing to include it is no worse than before. That implies that deprecating Unmaintained libraries is not a given.
Another issue is deciding when a library is unmaintained. Boost prefers that library authors and maintainers seek a replacement when no longer able to provide maintenance. Unfortunately, that doesn't always happen. Thus, establishing criteria by which to judge a library as unmaintained is warranted.
Many continue to use C++03 and benefit from the presence of libraries that only support that language. I think it a non-starter to suggest that a library is unmaintained, or under-maintained, because it hasn't been updated to use C++11/14. Indeed, a replacement library may be the better way forward, while the old library might remain in Boost releases.
Some have suggested that libraries with Standard Library equivalents be considered deprecated. Note that such libraries provide equivalent or similar functionality for older compilers, so I think that they should be treated the same as C++03-only libraries.
Libraries that have superior replacements in Boost releases seem like obvious candidates for deprecation. There is precedent for that: Boost.Signals was deprecated in favor of Boost.Signals2. There are some likely libraries in this category, such as Boost.Lambda.
Once we reach consensus on how to identify libraries to deprecate, we then must decide on the process. How long should a deprecated library be released before it is removed from Boost releases? How do we mark deprecated libraries? What do we do with deprecated libraries that have been removed from Boost releases?
(Sent from my portable computation engine)
Boost list run by bdawes at acm.org, gregod at cs.rpi.edu, cpdaniel at pacbell.net, john at johnmaddock.co.uk