Is Apple Now Blocking Contributions To GCC?
Written by Michael Larabel in Compiler on 10 September 2010 at 08:28 AM EDT. 111 Comments
Yesterday on the mailing list for GCC is was brought up if Apple's Objective-C 2.0 patches for the GNU Compiler Collection could be merged back into the upstream GCC code-base as maintained by the Free Software Foundation. Even though Apple's modified GCC sources still reflect the FSF as the copyright holder and are licensed under the GNU GPLv2+, it doesn't look like Apple wants their compiler work going back upstream any longer.

Chris Lattner, who is Apple's chief architect of their compiler group and also the lead developer of LLVM and Clang, came out to say that whatever Apple pushes to their GCC branch on the Free Software Foundation's servers they should be able to pull upstream, but not code that's found within the open-source GCC hosted by Apple on OpenDarwin or anywhere else. Or GCC code that's found within LLVM-GCC.

After another developer called for Apple to push a fresh source-code tar-ball to the Free Software Foundation server (thereby acknowledging the FSF copyright assignment) so they could pull in all of the Objective-C 2.0 support, Chris Lattner came back to say: "Apple does not have an internal process to assign code to the FSF anymore. I would focus on the code that is already assigned to the FSF."

The belief is that Apple is no longer contributing back as they object to the GNU GPLv3 license. So unfortunately unless things change it doesn't look like Apple's Objective-C 2.0 support will land in upstream GCC. It may come once LLVM's Clang can sit in front of GCC as a plug-in front-end, but until then you're stuck using Apple's GCC or the Low-Level Virtual Machine.

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Michael Larabel is the principal author of and founded the site in 2004 with a focus on enriching the Linux hardware experience. Michael has written more than 10,000 articles covering the state of Linux hardware support, Linux performance, graphics drivers, and other topics. Michael is also the lead developer of the Phoronix Test Suite, Phoromatic, and automated benchmarking software. He can be followed via Twitter or contacted via

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