RMS Feels There's "A Systematic Effort To Attack GNU Packages"

Written by Michael Larabel in GNU on 7 February 2015 at 08:50 AM EST. 178 Comments
Richard Stallman has come out against support for basic LLVM debugger (LLDB) support within Emacs' Gud.el as he equates it to an attack on GNU packages.

Andrew Moore on Friday posted a mailing list thread about adding basic LLDB support to gud.el, the Grand Unified Debugger mode for running GDB and other debuggers. The proposed patch is very small and would make it possible to use LLDB for debugging when developing within Emacs. Linux game developers and others have been excited about LLDB on Linux for offering a better and easier debugging experience than what the GNU GDB debugger provides, or at least at a lower barrier to entry. LLDB is also making its way to Windows.

The patch proposal for gud.el is just about adding basic LLDB support and not about stripping out the GDB support, adding a bunch of LLVM code into Emacs, or anything along those lines... Just about supporting LLDB as an alternative debugger. Richard Stallman responded to this work by writing:
It looks like there is a systematic effort to attack GNU packages. The GNU Project needs to respond strategically, which means not by having each GNU package cooperate with each attack. For now, please do NOT install this change.

I will talk with Moore about this, off the list, to find out more about the situation.
Other Emacs stakeholders responded with confusion how this could be "a systematic effort to attack GNU packages" and also raised points on how Emacs has support for Microsoft Windows and OS X but wouldn't consider a basic patch for enabling the LLDB debugger to be used. Stallman followed up to say, "These are not similar cases. Neither Windows nor MacOS was intended to push major GNU packages out of use. What I see here appears possibly to be exactly that. Whether that is the case is what I want to find out."

When being pressured and criticized about the situation, RMS responded to the mailing list, "This question is a small part of a big issue which is more or less bad. I want to find out what it is, and think about it. Please do not ask me to rush to a conclusion without finding out what is happening."

That's where things stand this morning. For now the LLVM LLDB debugger support isn't being added to Emacs gud.el, even though it's very basic support and an alternative to GDB, but Richard is seemingly frightened about the compiler competition from LLVM that is out under a permissive free software license.
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