It’s Time For New C++ Leadership

C++ is at an inflection point. The C++ Committee has been successful over the past decade. Yet the landscape has changed, and we must adapt to be successful in the future.

We need engaged new leadership to address the challenges we face, and to build the next generation of C++ leadership. I, Bryce Adelstein Lelbach, am seeking the U.S. nomination for the position of ISO/IEC JTC1/SC22/WG21 Convenor to provide such leadership.

I’ve been a member of the C++ Committee for 7 years and in leadership for the past 4, serving as chair of the Library Evolution, Library Evolution Incubator, and Tooling subgroups. I am an experienced ISO convenor (JTC1/AG18) and INCITS officer (chair of Pl22, Vocabulary, ANSDIT, and editor for the Inclusive Terminology Guidelines). I have more than a decade of experience organizing within the C++ community. I co-founded and grew C++Now and CppCon into two of our most prominent conferences. I’m a passionate advocate for diversity and inclusion who is trusted by the historically under-represented groups in our community.

Focus On Priorities

The C++ Committee and the number of proposals we receive has grown 10x over the last decade. For the last 6 years, we have had a significant backlog of papers waiting for review. In some cases, papers wait years to be reviewed by a subgroup. As Bjarne wrote in P0977, “most people [on the C++ Committee] are working independently towards non-shared goals”. We are 300 individual authors, not 1 team. We lack focus and a shared set of priorities. As Convenor, I would:

Modernize Collaboration

Before the pandemic, the C++ Committee primarily reviewed and discussed proposals at face-to-face meetings. This was successful in the past, but has downsides: it artificially raises the bar for entry for newcomers, creates an artificial urgency to make decisions during the meeting, and can be inefficient as it makes the entire room focus on one subject when just a few participants may have been needed. Our heavy reliance on face-to-face meetings seems outdated to the next generation of programmers who are used to modern collaboration tools that have become prevalent over the last two decades.

When the pandemic began, I developed and implemented procedures for the C++ Committee to continue to work remotely. As we transition from fully remote operations to hybrid meetings, we must continue to innovate and modernize our collaboration process. As Convenor, I will:

Unify Infrastructure

The digital infrastructure that we use is aging, ad-hoc, inconsistent, insecure, and esoteric. When we had 30 people, this was an annoyance; with 300, it’s an existential problem. Currently, our infrastructure is spread across 8 platforms, and you need to know 3 shared passwords and have 3 accounts to access all of it:

Platform Purpose Credentials URL Shortener Proposal Publication & Archive Single Shared Password List Subscription & Archive Single Shared Password Minutes, Guides, & Tutorials Single Shared Password Guides & Tutorials Proposal Submission Account System Calendar, Straw Polls Account System Proposal Status & Tracking Account System

There have been incremental efforts at improving and centralizing our infrastructure over the past few years, but we are still far from where we need to be. As Convenor, I will make it a priority to move all our digital infrastructure to, under a single unified login system.

Excel at Diversity, Inclusion, and Growth

The first step in fixing a problem is acknowledging it. The C++ Committee and community is not as diverse or inclusive as it should be. This threatens C++’s long term legacy. For C++ to continue to succeed in the coming decades, we must attract and retain the next generation of programmers who expect tech communities to be welcoming and diverse. We need leadership that is trusted by historically under-represented groups. As Convenor, diversity, inclusion, safety, and growing the next generation of C++ Committee leadership will be my top priorities. I will: