|From:||Ian Lance Taylor <iant-AT-google.com>|
|To:||"Eric S. Raymond" <esr-AT-thyrsus.com>|
|Subject:||Re: clang and FSF's strategy|
|Date:||Tue, 21 Jan 2014 17:31:43 -0800|
|Cc:||rms-AT-gnu.org, GCC Development <gcc-AT-gcc.gnu.org>, emacs-devel-AT-gnu.org|
On Tue, Jan 21, 2014 at 12:19 PM, Eric S. Raymond <email@example.com> wrote: > > Wouldn't it make sense, then, to entirely drop the factoring > restrictions from GCC so it can compete for developer attention more > effectively with clang? > > Before clang existed, back when GCC had a near monopoly in its > competitive space, there might have been a functional case for those > restrictions. Reasonable people may differ on that; there's no point > in arguing it retrospectively. Now, I submit, they have become a pointless > gesture that serves only to hinder GCC development abd increase > clang's competitive advantage. > > GCC has a lot of strengths to play from, most notably the maturity of > its multiplatform and cross-development support. I urge the FSF to > fully free the code - drop the policy restrictions, encourage a > flourishing ecosystem of surrounding plugins. Let GCC, clang, and > other alternatives compete for attention on pure technical merit. I'm sympathetic to our comments regarding GCC vs. clang. But I'm not sure I grasp your proposed solution. GCC does support plugins, and has supported them for a few releases now. GCC plugins have what turns out to be a significant defect: the plugin interface simply exposes GCC internals, and as such is not stable across releases. I pushed for plugins in GCC, and I thought this unstable interface would be OK, but I was wrong. For general plugins to be useful, we need a more stable interface. But that is a technical issue, not a licensing issue. You are talking about licensing issues. Do you think the licensing requirements on plugins are too onerous? Because of the non-standard interface, the most effective way for people to write plugins for GCC today is to use something like MELT (http://gcc-melt.org) or the GCC Python plugin (https://fedorahosted.org/gcc-python-plugin/). These provide a somewhat more standard interface across releases. Ideally we would develop a standard interface for C as well. There have been some efforts along those lines but as far as I know none of them have been committed to the tree. Ian
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