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Subject: [boost] Boost Evolution
From: Robert Ramey (ramey_at_[hidden])
Date: 2016-05-17 12:37:49

What I would like to see is more encouragement for the idea of boost
evolution. But I have well defined ideas about how that should occur.
I articulated these ideas is quite a bit of detail at C++Now in 2015 to
a packed house. It wasn't recorded so you'll have to take my word for
it. All is not lost though. For those who might be interested I kept
my practice recordings for the narrative on the slides and attached them
to each slide. So you can get a good feeling for the presentation by
checking out

If you do this don't forget to checkout the last two slides (including
the audio)! in real life it was much better!!!

When I articulated my particular suggestions at the conference there was
a lot of push back and I sort of lost control of things. On the other
hand, there was a lot of enthusiasm for my "call to action".

I didn't expect any drastic changes. But as I look back a year I do see
some real progress. I see:

a) more and better reviews
b) more interest, discussion and criticism of documentation
c) 30 libraries in the incubator. Some have already been added to boost.
d) Now movement on opening up the build/test system to evolution.
e) A program in place to make more resources available for maintaining
existing libraries. The complains of unmaintained libraries have
diminished by quite a bit - I don't know for a fact that this is related
to this program - maybe it's just a happy coincidence.

A couple of things have made much progress.

a) modular deployment and dependency management. No surprise here as
this is a job of major, major difficulty.
b) policy for library deprecation - not really hard but really very low
c) improvements in incubator - no real progress - but it's probably as
good as it needs to be.
d) boost website improvement - no discernible progress.

There is one big lesson from all this:

a) Boost is not a company - we don't take direction from the top.
b) Boost is not a government - we actually do something.
c) Boost is a religion - want something changed, start preaching. Get
other people on board. Convince people people to start doing something.

Take a look at the CMake history. There was a huge effort undertaken
from the top to switch to CMake for build / test. It was a failure
because it tried to do it from the top down. I'm thinking that the
promoters of this idea concluded that the problem wasn't ambitious
enough and added deployment to the task and built rypll. This had as
key collaborators our most capable and hard core developers - including
David Abrahams and Eric Neibler. Huge amount of expended effort but not
much came out of it.

I think if you want to help boost evolve - remember Boost is a religion.
  We are the jesuits of C++. Bjarn's marines - the tip of the spear.
We ambush the world with a new idea which builds or replaces something
else. We do it in an insidious manner. The opening up to CMake has
proceeded steadily over years until it's a the cusp of victory. No one
saw it coming and here it is. The world doesn't change from great
initiatives, it changes when the old order collapses while espending
it's existence to deny change. I've been told on this is a right wing
world view - and so it is - oh well.

So I encourage those who want to contribute to Boost and by extension
C++ to consider using this approach. I think you'll be more successful.

Robert Ramey

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