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Subject: Re: [boost] Boost Evolution
From: Robert Ramey (ramey_at_[hidden])
Date: 2016-05-21 11:59:11

On 5/21/16 6:26 AM, Niall Douglas wrote:
> On 21 May 2016 at 6:17, Rob Stewart wrote:

This sort of sums up the differences. At the risk of repeating myself
again (recursion) I'll add to this (moth to the flame).
>>> The whole point of a proactive leadership is that they DON'T follow
>>> the masses. Most will be indifferent. Making Boost great again
>>> requires decisions not backed by a positive mass vote.

No doesn't the reason boost is great is because expressily avoids doing

>> Robert has remarked numerous times that such leadership, in Boost, is
>> expected to come from the community, not from a centralized authority. I
>> know that frustrates you, but that is the authority structure of Boost.
>> It is possible to develop community backing for a different structure,
>> but that doesn't mean the Steering Committee should arrogate that role
>> by fiat.
> That's by YOUR choice as the Steering Committee: you have the power,
> but you choose to not use it.

True - and a very wise choice indeed!

> You have *explicitly* chosen this
> policy which is to proactively discourage new blood and new ideas,
> thus enforcing the status quo.

Not at all - the steering committee has declined to intervene except
when absolutely necessary. It hasn't encouraged or discouraged anything.

> It is equal in every way to actively
> choosing continuing decline for Boost and the active rejection of a
> new generation of modern quality C++ libraries for the entire C++
> community.

The only active rejection of new libraries are libaries which are not
deemed to meet Boost's standards and policies. And this judgement is
not rendered by the steering committee - but by the community members
who spend there own time investigating and reviewing submissions. The
steering committee has no role in this process.

> It is in short, an anti-social, anti-younger person, anti-innovation,
> anti-modern, anti-real-change attitude. I know you don't understand
> what I'm talking about, after all we've done this topic to death on
> boost-steering last year, so I'll wrap up by requoting David Sankel:

ROTFL - Ahhh so the whole problem is that I'm too old to understand the
argument! It's even worse - I'm too old to even understand that I AM
too old!! (it's that damn recursion again) And it's even worse - I have
a bad attitude towards young people! That's the problem!

>> Boost cannot evolve the way it has in the past. When it was getting
>> started, we didn't have over-representation of groups who benefit from the
>> status-quo. We didn't have the idea of servicing the "Boost community"
>> instead of the "C++ community".
>> Either the steering committee will step up
>> to protect the original vision of Boost,

The steering committee has been hands off. This is the best thing it
can do to protect the original vision of boost.

using constitutional government as an analogy, the steering committee
isn't the president or cabinet which runs the country, it's the supreme
court to administers the basic rules under which the varied interests
fight it out. I'm aware that the steering committee was only formed in
2008 but that role was originally performed by a secret cabal of
insiders. Their genius was to keep their role limited.

>> or the vision of Boost will change to serve the insiders.

The current vision of boost serves those members/participants in more or
less in proportion to the scale, utility, and appreciation for their
contribution. Those who make the build system get the authority to
decide how to do it. Those who make libraries get the authority to
decide how it gets done. So it's true that the "insiders" have
disproportionate say. I'm aware that this is grating to some but
changing this would be the end of boost as we know it. Boost is
uniquely successful because of this vision. And you're right - it's not
going to change. It's not going to evolve in the way you envision.

>> This means life or death for boost and, frankly, it's
>> been dying over the past few years.

To be replaced with ... what exactly. You're proposals amount to
setting aside all that is boost and just keeping the name. Why waste
your time and everyone's time trying to convince us that this is a good
idea. Why not just fork boost and make it in your own vision. I'm
absolutely mystified by this. No one would object to this. You can use
all the boost code. There is only one thing you can't take with you and
that's boost name (and bank account of course). Everything else is at
your disposal. Is that not enough? Why do you need more?
And it's ridiculously easy to do - just fork boost, Insert a
CMakeLists.txt file in the root of each library, and announce a new
name. What do you need us "insiders" for. Without us old farts holding
you back, you'll take off like a rocket and we'll just wither away into
irrelevance (at a personal level I can already feel this happening).

> Far more eloquently put than I've ever achieved in three years of
> trying to deliver this message.

Don't be too hard on yourself. You delivery and advocacy are fine and
actually quite effective. The problem is that the idea you're trying to
promote is spectacularly bad and most people see this.

Robert Ramey

PS a personal note:

I stumbled on boost around the year 2000 while looking for a sane
wrapper around mswindows and posix threading libraries. It was a
revelation to me. I've spent a life time dealing with crappy code,
people who think their crappy code is great, arguing with people who
refused to test code, refuse to use const and engaging in all manner of
hacking and really bad ideas. And then when one points out the obvious,
he is subjected by a whole tirade that he doesn't know what he's talking
about, that he's stupid, that it's so obvious it doesn't require an
argument, that everyone does it this way, that .... all manner of
pointless circular fact free argument. When I came upon boost it was a
revelation. First, a sensible discussion policy. Then a formal
methodology for quality assurance including serious testing and peer
review process. The ideas weren't revolutionary, but it was the first
public institution which took them seriously and it has made all the

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