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Subject: Re: [boost] Boost leadership (was: Re: Boost.Experimental Re: [variant] Maintainer)
From: Rob Stewart (rob.stewart_at_[hidden])
Date: 2015-07-06 18:29:34

On July 6, 2015 7:01:07 AM EDT, Niall Douglas <s_sourceforge_at_[hidden]> wrote:
> On 3 Jul 2015 at 9:05, Rob Stewart wrote:
> > > Boost once was
> > > the place to playpen exciting new C++ libraries - if you read this
> > > mailing list back in 1999-2001, there was a palpable excitement
> here
> > > as people tried new things and showed one other what could be
> > > possible. Rather like in the Rust mailing list nowadays.
> > >
> > > From 2008-2009 onwards things haven't been as good here, and
> > > especially since Dave left.
> >
> > You've made this sort of remark before. Dave didn't do anything
> > particularly special except to be highly active and contribute a
> great
> > deal. (Yes, he provided leadership, but he wasn't alone and others
> who
> > did so are still part of the community.)
> He did a lot more than that Rob. For a lot of people, including
> myself, Dave *was* Boost for most of its lifespan. It probably didn't
> seem that way from inside Boost, but as an outsider if Dave decided
> you had a contribution to make he acted as the nexus point to make
> that happen. He managed the internal people required to achieve
> outcomes.

Okay, but that's still someone being highly active in the community. He had a lot of influence, but he didn't dictate things.

> Since his departure there hasn't been a dependable, reliable source
> of support for those outside Boost who wanted something fixed at a
> holistic level. Or indeed much support for anyone inside Boost.
> Trying to change or upgrade infrastructure is a Kafka-esque soul
> draining affair - even getting the Boost SSL cert replaced, which
> *still* hasn't happened, has proven that. Nobody knows who to go talk
> to about something half the time because the lists of names
> responsible for infrastructure are so out of date.

Several times, people who didn't know what was necessary tried to help, but many times folks were talking past one another with each party thinking the other would do something that didn't happen. Indeed, I thought things were moving on that front.

> It shouldn't be as hard as it is to contribute to Boost outside the
> libraries you maintain. It shouldn't be hard to upgrade
> infrastructure at all. It should be *easy*.

When infrastructure grows organically and a small number of people do most of the work, it can be hard to effect changes. That's life. Add to that during goals and ideas of what should be done and it's easy to understand why things move slowly.

> It definitely shouldn't be the case that Boost infrastructure is
> rotting away, and nobody is doing anything about it and any attempts
> to get the steering committee to move on this go nowhere, despite
> repeated attempts by myself and others.

You continue to expect more of the Steering Committee than is in its charter.

> > > It doesn't help when members of the
> > > steering committee conspicuously fail to perform their duties, and
> > > specifically disavow taking any leadership position except to
> > > intentionally prevent and inhibit change.
> >
> > I have no idea to what you're referring, but I highly doubt that
> this is
> > a fair characterization of any member of the committee and certainly
> > not of the committee itself.
> >
> > The Steering Committee, admittedly not ideally named, was formed for
> two
> > key purposes: to be able to commit Boost money, when required, and
> > to make a decision for the community when there isn't a clear
> consensus,
> > not unlike how a Review Manager considers reviews for a decision but
> > doesn't just count the votes.
> >
> > Any perceived reticence to make a decision on something may be due
> to
> > unseen activity or to the misapprehension of what the committee
> > should do.
> >
> > If you have specific concerns, don't malign the committee in this
> > fashion on the developer's list but raise them on the committee
> list.
> > Others can follow that list, so the discussion won't be hidden.
> You can thank Jon Kalb that I did not respond to this section in
> detail.
> What he has encouraged me to do instead is to try once again at
> getting you to act, so here we go:

That proposal is not all that different from one you proposed earlier. The Committee is awaiting some legal feedback to the best of my recollection, but is not averse to trying something like what you've proposed.

I appreciate your zeal and effort on behalf of Boost. I also appreciate your attempt to be positive despite your ongoing sense of frustration.


(Sent from my portable computation engine)

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