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Gmane
From: David Edelsohn <dje.gcc <at> gmail.com>
Subject: Re: clang vs free software
Newsgroups: gmane.comp.gcc.devel
Date: Thursday 23rd January 2014 18:44:01 UTC (over 3 years ago)
On Thu, Jan 23, 2014 at 12:49 PM, Eric S. Raymond  wrote:

>> Maybe nobody bothers because using clang is easier than to fight with
>> FSF policies.
>
> Which is pretty close if not identical to my original point.

Your original point came across as a complaint that GCC does not
support plugins because of some FSF policy, despite GCC supporting
plugins because of the Runtime Exception that I championed.

> The clearest possible statement of this is in Chandler Carruth's talk
> "Clang: Defending C++ from Murphy's Million Monkeys" (all over
> YouTube) in which he explains "why we set out to build another C++
> compiler" by beginning with this question posted to the gcc list: "is
> there are reason for not making the [GCC] front ends dynamic
> libraries which could be linked by any program that wants to parse
> source code?"

GCC is working toward re-factoring its code base toward a more
compositional approach for "toolification". One can look at
presentations from the recent GNU Cauldron 2013 for discussion of the
topic.

David Malcolm also has created patches for the GCC backend to be used as a
JIT.

The assertions that FSF policy prevents technical development and
innovation simply is not true.

Clang/LLVM has technical advantages and GCC has technical advantages.

> More of the same will not serve.  GCC is in near-term danger of losing
> its dominance in open-source C development; I would say the danger is
> imminent if not that people are innately conservative about major changes
> to their toolchains.  The other shoe will drop when a major Linux
distribution
> ships with clang as its default compiler; I could easily see this
happening
> before the end of 2015, followed by a cascade of me-too defections.

Your comments presume that the choice is because of technical merit or
philosophy impeding technical development.  The issue for companies is
control: which compiler allows them better access / control over the
toolchain control point of the ecosystem and which allows them to
create a walled garden to improve their margins and their business
model.

If developers and engineers want to cherry-pick technical anecdotes
that support the business decision, it makes it easier for the company
to implement its policy, but it does not change the direction of the
business decision.

- David
 
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