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Subject: Re: [boost] ABI issues with -std
From: Andrey Semashev (andrey.semashev_at_[hidden])
Date: 2018-08-19 20:57:21

On Sun, Aug 19, 2018 at 11:37 PM, Peter Dimov via Boost
<boost_at_[hidden]> wrote:
> Andrey Semashev wrote:
>> Our libraries should build into binaries that are suitable for linking
>> with user's code in any C++ version, otherwise standard Boost binaries in
>> Linux distributions will be compatible only with one C++ version, which is
>> not practical.
> I don't think that it's possible in general to support linking any C++
> version to any other.
> Suppose for instance that you have
> struct X;
> struct Y
> {
> void f( X const& x );
> void f( X&& x );
> #endif
> };
> If you compile everything with C++03, it works. If you compile everything
> with C++11, it works. If you compile the library with C++11 and the user
> code with C++03, it works (barring other issues.)
> But if you compile the library with C++03, and the user code with C++11, it
> doesn't. The user code tries to call Y::f(X&&), and it's not there.

I solved this in Boost.Log this way:

  struct Y
     void f( X const& x );


     void f( X&& x ) { f_move(x); }


    void f_move(X& x);

> Now the above is a trivial case, there are many other examples of code that
> could change depending on whether a feature is supported or not; and even
> when it 'works', it's still technically an ODR violation because the
> definition of Y is not the same.

Yes, I understand that not every case is as simple as the one above.
That's why I'm asking for more details.

And we have to accept that as soon as we enter this ABI stuff
territory we're no longer in standard C++ land. We will most likely
have to do dirty stuff, much like compiler writers do, to achieve
compatibility. ODR issues are no longer relevant, as long as we're
playing by compiler rules.

> Being "ABI-portable" under a strict interpretation of the standard means
> that nothing in the user-facing headers is allowed to depend on whether a
> feature is supported or not. That's impractical. The only supported
> configuration, under said strict interpretation, is when everything is
> compiled with the same -std level. This applies even to libraries that do
> nothing differently by themselves, if they include a header-only library
> that does something differently.
> In practice, the present situation with Boost.System is that you can link 03
> to 11, 11 to 03, 03 and 11 to 14, but not 14 to 03 or 11. This was the best
> I could do.

Sorry, but I don't think this is acceptable. It prevents C++03 users
from linking with system Boost.System (provided that the system Boost
is compiled with default gcc options, which enable C++14). And there
are strictly C++03 users out there.

As a slightly different variant of the Boost.System2 solution, I can
suggest building multiple Boost.System binaries, one per ABI we can

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