C++ Should Be C++

Document number: P3023R0
Date: 2023-10-14
Authors: David Sankel <dsankel@adobe.com>
Audience: Evolution, Library Evolution


Over the past few years, the C++ community has dealt with scandals, calls for a so-called successor, and threats of anti-C++ safety regulations. All this is on top of the ordinary committee stress of competing designs and harsh prioritization. In a time like this it’s easy to dwell on our troubles or take fiercely defensive positions.

This paper reframes the unconstructive narratives and argues that the committee’s real opportunity is to improve people’s lives. We’ll show how this outlook leads to guidance on committee participation, direction, and responsibilities.


What follows is an outline for a paper I hope to present at the 2023 Kona meeting. My apologies for not having the complete version ready for this mailing, but a family situation made this impossible. Please check for a newer revision for the full treatment.


The biggest threat

The surest way to sabotage a standard is to say yes to everything.
– Scott Foshee, technology standards veteran

Mission for the standardization committee

The social aspect

C++ as personal and group identity

Language wars

I can think of few things more depressing than C++ still being used in 1,000,000 years
– Lisa Lippencott

Standardization as personal opportunity vs. stewardship

The technical aspect

Anti-patterns at work


Features and prioritization bias towards experts


Niche problems getting more than niche effort

Some big topics put in perspective