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Re: Interesting discussion on gcc about objc

From: Gregory Casamento
Subject: Re: Interesting discussion on gcc about objc
Date: Mon, 13 Sep 2010 15:17:12 -0400


On Mon, Sep 13, 2010 at 3:05 PM, Nicola Pero
<address@hidden> wrote:
>> Not to spark a flame war here, but I've had some serious questions in
>> my mind as to the GCC project's ability or willingness to help since
>> the project seems entirely focused on endlessly improving the C, C++
>> and Fortran front-ends and doesn't work on ObjC at all.
> I think GCC has been really keen on supporting ObjC and ObjC++.

I'm extremely doubtful about this.  Given discussions in the past on
the GCC list to prevent them from releasing broken versions of the
compiler (I seem to recall this being around the 3.2 timeframe).
Also, from them not considering Objective-C as something which could
block a release if it doesn't work tells me that they don't consider
it a priority at all.

The posting on the gcc list about "Objective-C has so few users" is
not the first of it's kind on the GCC list that I've seen.

> They have entire testsuites that test the languages, and make no changes
> that ever break it.  It's remarkable how hard they support it given that
> none of them uses it. ;-)

I'd like to see when that code was written and how actively the test
suites have been maintained.   It wouldn't surprise me to learn that
these were done by Apple when they were part of the project, but are
now no longer maintained.

> What we need to realize, in my view, is that the "GNU Objective-C Compiler"
> and the "GNU Objective-C Runtime" can only be maintained by the "GNU 
> Objective-C
> People".  And the "GNU Objective-C People" is mostly us (GNUstep), the people
> on this mailing list! ;-)

Exactly how long do you think it would take for us to have a working
ObjC2.0 Implementation in GCC?   I'm willing to help, but, honestly,
GNUstep has so many other issues that need to be dealt with using LLVM
instead of GCC to me seems a viable option since it removes the burden
of maintaining the compiler from us.

Our situation was a little better when Apple was still maintaining GCC
prior to the push for GPLv3.

> As gnustep-make is mostly complete and feature-full (and so I can
> maintain it with low overhead), I have personally decided to give part of
> my free-software-hacking attention (for the foreseeable future) to
> Objective-C support in the FSF GCC and in the FSF GNU Objective-C
> runtime library.

Cool.   I'm glad to see this.   As I said in my email I have had
concerns.  Now that you're maintaining this in GCC I feel better about
the prospects of a working ObjC2.0 implementation in GCC.

> Thanks

Gregory Casamento - GNUstep Lead/Principal Consultant, OLC, Inc.
yahoo/skype: greg_casamento, aol: gjcasa
(240)274-9630 (Cell)

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