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Should we have two versions of Boost in the archive?


A new version (1.35) of the Boost library collection was released
yesterday.  I'd like to get it packaged for Debian ASAP.  The question
is: whether to simply replace the existing version (1.34.1) as we have
always done, or to have the old and new both available in the library?

In the past, we've always supported a single version of boost.  But
changing versions seems to cause a lot of convulsions, so Domenico
recently proposed that we have two versions of Boost sources in the
archive and version each of the 13 -dev packages.

On Wed, Feb 27, 2008 at 11:40:30AM +0100, Domenico Andreoli wrote:

> It may sound even better if multiple Boost versions were considered,
> packaging them in versioned source packages (ie boost-1.34.1,
> boost-1.35.0). Respective -dev packages should then be also versioned
> and conflicting each other, as the mostly undecorated symlinks there
> provided. Having boost-defaults driving the default Boost and Python
> versions and the completely undecorated symlinks.
> This, for instance, would allow Boost 1.35.0 in lenny while 1.34.1
> being the default one. I frankly doubt a full transition to 1.35.0
> would happen before the release of lenny.

For some large systems (e.g. GCC, Qt, VTK), I see the utility of this
approach in that each major version typically brings with it
significant source incompatibility and forces client code to adopt.
Some client code may not adapt immediately and can continue to build
with the older version.

I don't have a good sense whether this is the case with Boost.  It may
simply be that a Boost transition is a nuisance because it forces the
recompilation of many client libraries, which in turn are widely used
and therefore ends up involving a lot of packages.  Or, indeed,
whether this distinction makes no difference in deciding how to

I'd appreciate your thoughts on whether having two Boost source
versions in Debian is worth the packaging effort.


P.S.  For the new version of Boost, I plan to remove the compiler 
version from the library SONAMES.

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