Since we're talking about the C standard here, not the C++ standard, I'm not sure I understand your concern about the capabilities of C++ in GCC back "in the day". Although, you are definitely correct in your assessments, IMO.
What difference would it make to the C99 WG, what RMS's position was on C vs. C++, or the state of C++ in GCC at the time? There's no question that GCC was, even then, one of the most widely used C compilers around. My reference to proprietary compilers was meant to say that WG members couldn't/shouldn't be expected to pay for proprietary compiler licenses so they could learn about them: it's quite reasonable to expect those companies to pony up some $$ to send someone to the WG. For free software, there's nothing stopping the existing members from examining the docs and even the implementations directly, and/or asking questions on the mailing list to get details. Engaging the community that way, rather than requiring WG attendance or else ignoring the compiler, would have worked better for all concerned.
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