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Thread: Eric S. Raymond Calls Out The FSF/GCC On Clang

  1. #51
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    Jan 2014
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    Default

    It is funny to see what are the consequences of certain design decisions after some years ... and economical reality.

    RMS chose to build an operating system on top of a mach micro kernel which was supposed to be better or at last neater than a traditional monolithic kernel. Some years passed (decades actually) and Linux does a better job even if it is a big, uh, freakiní bunch of code. Mach is slower by design, but probably not so slow on every architectures (after all, a mach kernel was used for UniCOS on the CRAY-2 supercomputer, if it was a burden, such a design wouldn't have been used on a batch computer). The fact the FSF was unable to port Hurd on top of another microkernel is a proof behind each design there is (are ?) a nasty reality. Those difficulties didn't prevent some free operating systems to be based on top of modern microkernels (haiku-os and minix are probably the most well know cases).

    With GCC it is more or less the same story. Choosing a design difficult enough to discourage dishonest industrialists to violate a license and create their own product based around the code of GCC has some drawbacks. And maybe RMS didn't saw how much GCC would evolve back then. And, if it is effectively possible than LLVM/clang will be used in some proprietary compilers, does that mean its development as a free software will stop? I don't think so. The same way it's not because you can put a proprietary nvidia blob in the FreeBSD kernel, or even copy the code and create something proprietary with it (actually lots of companies do it) that the project died or will die anytime soon.
    What can make a project die is the lack of interest of the current developers or the sponsors, and the latter is exactly what happen when the project costs more than it pays, for instance if the code base is too hard to work with and a cleaner alternative is available or the project goes totally out of the scope of any market shares. I think it's a bit too early to tell if GCC will lose interest because of it's old codebase, but I am sure a new modular design would be more than welcome (same story with bind 9/10 vs powerDNS).

    The opposite is also true, if you look back some years ago, (ok lots of some years ago, in the middle on 80'), when Sun created the NewS display system, superior to X11 (even having a compatibility layer), it didn't have any success beside of early Sgi workstations (they used it to replace their own Mex display system until Sun lose interest in it and both adopted a full X11 environment).
    What does that means? It's not always the best technology who win, but how you sell it (look at a certain "operating system' produced by a huge Redmond based company ...).

    I personally think GCC and LLVM/clang are both good technologies and it's not even sure if one of them will "lose" to the other, but the oldish design decisions made in GCC since its early days seem to become a burden. Whatever is it true or not, it's something that can't just be ditched with a "We are totally right because they are allowing proprietary plug-ins, so they whole stuff is a plain shit.", because it would be the stupidest thing to do. LLVM/clang learned from what it was considered as GCC's mistakes, maybe it is time for Gcc's guys to take a step back?

  2. #52
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    Oct 2014
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    Quote Originally Posted by endman View Post
    No, modify the law and take LLVM devs to the Free Software court and force them to re-license LLVM under GPLv3.

    It'll teach Apple, B$D and all those Anti-GPL trolls a lesson.
    It will just make another Compiler Project emerge. This time under the Apache License

  3. #53
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    Quote Originally Posted by Fresh_meat View Post
    The opposite is also true, if you look back some years ago, (ok lots of some years ago, in the middle on 80'), when Sun created the NewS display system, superior to X11 (even having a compatibility layer), it didn't have any success beside of early Sgi workstations (they used it to replace their own Mex display system until Sun lose interest in it and both adopted a full X11 environment).
    What does that means? It's not always the best technology who win, but how you sell it (look at a certain "operating system' produced by a huge Redmond based company ...).
    NeWS apps were hard to write and dog-slow. Xview apps were almost trivially easy to write, and performed well, given the limitations of the hardware of the time.

    Yeah, it was the best technology if, by that, you mean 'having to write half your app in Postscript, and running much slower than the alternatives'.

  4. #54
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    Oct 2014
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    Default An UNOBSTRUSIVE dual license that uses GPLv3:

    Code:
    Copyright (c) xxxx-yyyy owner
    
    This software is free software dual licensed under the GPLv3 and/or Custom
    terms, following below:
    
    Terms of use:
    
    1. If you use, modify and/or redistribute the Software under the GPLv3,
       the futher terms do not apply!
    
    2. The right to use this software, or parts of it, in your own Product
       is hereby granted, provided that:
       -  the copyright notice remains in the source code
       -  the copyright notice remains in the documentation and/or credits if any
       -  the software parts covered by this license must not be changed
    
    3. The right to use your modified version of this software, or parts of it, in
       your own Product is hereby granted, provided that:
       -  the copyright notice remains in the source code
       -  your own copyright notice must be added in the changed source code files
       -  the copyright notice remains in the documentation and/or credits if any
       -  changes must be stated
       -  the software parts covered by this license must be published in source
          code and be covered by this license

  5. #55
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    Sep 2011
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    Question

    Quote Originally Posted by smitty3268 View Post
    I don't think it matters. Clang isn't going to go away if GCC starts accepting non-free plugins, and i don't think it would even slightly slow down anything. That's not why people use clang.
    Are you sure about this? Embarcadero's Delphi is winding down the use of its own in-house compilers and moving over to LLVM instead for its products.

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