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From: Joe Buck <Joe.Buck <at> synopsys.COM>
Subject: Re: GCC 4.4.0 Status Report (2009-03-13)
Newsgroups: gmane.comp.gcc.devel
Date: Sunday 22nd March 2009 05:00:24 UTC (over 9 years ago)
On Sat, Mar 21, 2009 at 07:37:10PM -0700, Daniel Berlin wrote:
> "The steering committee was founded in 1998 with the intent of
> preventing any particular individual, group or organization from
> getting control over the project. Its primary purpose is to make major
> decisions in the best interests of the GCC project and to ensure that
> the project adheres to its fundamental principles found in the
> project's mission statement. [see the original announcement below]."

The purpose of that statement (which dates from egcs days), was to address
concerns that egcs represented a Cygnus takeover of GCC.  egcs started
before the Red Hat acquisition of Cygnus, and it started with the Cygnus
"devo tree" with a Cygnus employee as RM, and some Cygnus marketing people
at the time were actually telling customers that it *did* represent a
Cygnus takeover, so they had to have a Cygnus support contract if they
wanted any influence over egcs!  Fortunately those people were quickly
slapped down.  And after the Cygnus/Red Hat merger, the rest of the
community was worried about the 800 pound gorilla.

> 1. The FSF, as an organization, clearly now has control over the project.
> You even liken them to the administration of which you are just a
> You also believe you must act in accordance with their policy or
> resign from the group supposed to be making the major decisions in the
> best interests of the GCC project.

Even in the egcs days, every contributor signed over their copyright to
their contributions to the FSF, so even then the FSF played a special
role.  Many of the contributors worked (and still work) for organizations
that compete with each other: if there weren't some nonprofit with legal
ownership of the code one would have had to be invented.

There are checks on FSF control in the sense that the project can be
forked and developers can leave.  But in this particular case, I'm hopeful
that this holdup is going to be resolved soon; there's new language and
meetings this weekend which I hope will resolve matters, and the new
language is designed to fix problems raised on this list by GCC
developers.  Most of the time, the FSF hasn't interfered with GCC except
on a couple of matters that they care about; licensing is one such matter.

I wish the FSF had simply asked us to hold the final release and not the
branch, as it would have made life a lot easier.
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