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Subject: Re: [boost] Boost is supposed to serve *the entire C++ community; it isn't Boost's goal to serve Boost's community*
From: Vladimir Batov (Vladimir.Batov_at_[hidden])
Date: 2016-05-23 07:05:46

On 2016-05-23 20:12, Andrey Semashev wrote:
> On Monday, 23 May 2016 12:52:17 MSK Vladimir Batov wrote:
>> On 05/23/2016 06:09 AM, Andrey Semashev wrote:
>> > Actually, Ubuntu is quite proactive. The latest release is 16.04
>> > (which is also an LTS release) provides gcc 5.3.1 out of the box.
>> > Also, there is PPA[1] which provides more recent compiler
>> > versions.
>> Actually, it's the customers who are not in a hurry to install and
>> "play" with "latest and greatest" for obvious reasons. Unlike children
>> who are eager to play with a new "toy" and throwing tantrums when the
>> rest of the world is not catching up, businesses always (from my
>> experience) a version behind... be that MS Windows or Ubuntu LTS or
>> Solaris.
> I was addressing the remark with regard to Ubuntu, which is obviously
> not to blame for your customers' preferences.

Please do not get me wrong. I was not arguing, disputing, correcting
your point. IMO Ubuntu is doing quite an acceptable job. I merely tried
to highlight that Ubuntu (or any other OS developer) are not the root
cause why many developers are still on older compilers.

> Then, there are different kinds of customers. In some cases it doesn't
> really matter what
> OS your software is developed for - because you ship both the software
> and the OS. Sometimes hardware, too.

True. I personally have been overwhelmingly working for large companies
delivering only s/w for their established IT infrastructure. In that
setting what I can use for development and ultimately deliver are driven
by that corporate IT infrastructure.

> But I know what you're talking about. Corporate clients
> don't care how
> the software is written as long as it gets the job done.
> Developers do. So it's up to the developers to push
> for the new language features, libraries and so on.

:-) It's not my experience. Large corporations expect your software to
just fit in to their IT infrastructure. Pushing or advocating for those
corporations to change/modify their framework is most likely a wasted
effort. An example. Up until fairly recently our customer (a big
airline) was using Interix! That was their choice, already-made
investment, etc. No amount of our effort was able to have them to
allocate funds and move off it... So, our s/w had to compile with
gcc-3.3 (hello C++14-only). Only when Microsoft dropped Interix and
stopped support, they moved off Interix. Hooray!

> In my practice language or library
> updates never came from top down in a company,
> always from bottom up from the
> initiative developers who care.

Well, I guess, you are luckier. :-) For us, the customer IT
infrastructure is essentially carved in stone. We are free to do
whatever we want... as long as it installs and works on their platform.
So, the closer my development framework to their framework, the less
hassle I have maintenance and support-wise.

>> My understanding is that rushing forward well ahead of the installed
>> customer base causes a lot of headache as I'll then have to ship
>> libraries not present on the customer machine. Then I'll have to make
>> sure those correct libraries are in fact used... and fix when the
>> customer screws something up (like LD_LIBRARY_PATH). So, simple
>> "ship-and-forget" turns into maintenance and support on site. A
>> nightmare.
> Don't forget that using the older tools becomes more expensive over
> time - sometimes
> more expensive than maintaining your own up to date environment in the
> older OS.

Understood. But I am not talking old-old-old. It's just that big
customers are always a version behind. So, right now, in my view,
talking C++14-only and stuff is sheer nonsense.

> And
> with regard to maintenance, the support contract is another (often
> significant, often main) source of income.

Indeed. The difference is mnt/support of your s/w as opposed as opposed
to mnt/support of their platform and their environment. The more
components I deliver (say, due to using libs missing in their standard
installation) the more vulnerable I am to their tinkering with the
system. Nothing new... I am sure you are well aware of all that. It's
just that that aggravated persistent noise about C++14-only... loudly
claiming to represent "wider C++ community" when in fact, it could not
be further from the truth. Irritating.

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