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Debian packaging, dependency management and the C++ standards meeting




Hi

Last week I was at CppCon, which is the biggest C++ developers'
conference in the world. There were a lot of talks about dependencies,
packaging and deployment and other such things related to Debian. A
representative snippet can be seen in this video starting at 1:13:56:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TjdCxXdjaSA

The tl/dr version is that people running the C++ standardisation work
do not really have knowledge about the way Debian does things and
because of this might not take relevant things into consideration. As
an example there is a rising trend of "discard ABI stability, static
link everything and recompile the world on every change" vibe going on
similar to most new system programming languages. This would make
things difficult for Debian due to obvious reasons.

They specifically mention that there is a standardisation meeting next
month (in San Diego?) and that if people from Debian and other groups
underrepresented in the C++ standardisation process were to attend,
they would like to talk to them to understand their requirements. This
specific thing is mentioned in the video at 1:17, the person in the
white shirt answering the question is Titus Winters, Google's C++ lead
(of some sort, don't know the specifics) and he is a big advocate of
static linking everything.

I can't attend due to geographical reasons but would there be someone
who could and would be interested? It would probably be beneficial to
have Debian people there to tell about those specific requirements,
because it seems like most people on the standardisation committee do
not really have a good grasp on what they are. In fact it might make
sense to send distro people in general, since the requirements are
very similar for Red Hat, Ubuntu, SuSE et al. If you have contacts in
those organisations who would be interested in this issue feel free to
send them links to this email thread. I know Red Hat at least has sent
people to the meeting in the past but on the language/stdlib side, not
for packaging (that I know of at least).

An alternative, or parallel, approach could be to write a paper
outlining the issues and submitting it to the standard body. This does
require someone to be physically at the meeting and to present the
paper and its conclusions to the participants and be ready to answer
questions. (I have never actually done this myself, so the above
description might have flaws.) Having a position paper co-signed by
several different distros could be beneficial in making our views
heard.

The downside is that the deadline for submitting papers is fairly
short, I think something like 1.5 weeks so this would need to move
fairly quickly.

Thanks,
(not subscribed to the list so please cc)