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Subject: Re: [boost] Status of the CMake-ification
From: Robert Ramey (ramey_at_[hidden])
Date: 2015-11-17 11:17:06

On 11/17/15 12:37 AM, Stephen Kelly wrote:
> Louis Dionne wrote:
>> Dear Boost,
>> I'd like to inquire about the status of the CMake-ification of Boost that
>> had
>> been started a while ago. AFAICT, the effort is completely stopped now; is
>> this correct?
> Yes. It can never reach a completeness because the Boost community doesn't
> want it, so the effort stopped.
> Note that for users of boost, there would be a great benefit if
> would generate cmake packages with imported targets. Keeping and
> generating such files (as Qt does with qmake) could be an alternative area
> to make effort in and would provide more benefit in the shorter term for all
> external users of boost+cmake.
> I can help if someone who maintains wants to pursue that.
>> Also, I'd like to poll the community to gauge interest in the rebirth of
>> such
>> an effort. __I'm not proposing myself to work on such a rebirth__, but I'm
>> just curious to know what the community thinks about it. I, for one, would
>> love to see it happen.
> It can be revived at any time if there's a decision and a plan to complete
> it.

I was present at the creation and demise of the CMake effort. It has a
lot of resources behind it. It's my belief that it was unsuccessful
because it failed to appreciate the way boost works. (Ironic I know).
I believe that if you want to make a change in Boost, the most effective
way is to work from the bottom up. In this case this means encouraging
individual authors to include CMake files for their projects. These can
easily coexist with the bjam projects. And boost doesn't have means to
prohibit authors from doing this. If you convince enough authors to do
this - perhaps providing help for them - or documents or whatever,
someone will then raise the question - why doesn't everyone do this? Of
course then the usual brohaha will ensue - that's what we do. But the
upshot will be someone will come up with a script which will walk
through all the boost libraries and invoke just the CMake build - or
maybe CMake if there is one and Bjam if there isn't or .... - I don't
know. Eventually we could get to the place where the documentation is
now. There is wide variety that has come about as fashions change but
it seems to work OK. Personally, I don't see any reason why each
library can't select it's own build system as it currently selects it's
own documentation system. Basically, these ideas are demonstrated and
promoted with the Boost Library Incubator.

To summarize, individual authors are free to support CMake if they want
and you're free to encourage and help them to do so. Even if you don't
get every library on board - you'll still be making progress toward you
desired goal - so have at it!

BTW I'm willing to accept contributions to the boost library incubator
which expand upon the topics there.

Robert Ramey

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