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From: David Chisnall
Subject: Re: LLVM
Date: Fri, 29 Feb 2008 16:54:30 +0000

On 29 Feb 2008, at 16:46, Pete French wrote:

Do you really think that the LLVM license is a good license for our
compiler / runtime language library ? ;-)

Lisence wars are never very productive and the UNIX/BSD vs the Linux/ GNU
style has been runnign for years. The thing is, wouldn't it be nice to
have it so GNUstep worked with both ? I really like the sound of this
compiler (it's a new toy if nothing else) and I also like the sound of
the new runtime. But that doesn't mean a switch from GCC surely ? Choice
is a good thing...

Or to put it another way, I don't think we should be including a compiler
or runtime *at* *all* as part of GNustep - it should be "choose your
Objective-C compiler" as then it gets on with it. Possibly easier
said than done though :-)

I composed a long reply to Nicola's email, but this makes my point far better than I did. A few things:

- LLVM is Free Software.

- LLVM is already producing faster code than GCC.

- LLVM code is clean enough that I can go from first looking at it to submitting patches in a few days, while the GCC code is indecipherable to anyone not already intimately familiar with it.

- LLVM has a JIT mode which will (when combined with a runtime library like mine - and unlike the Apple and GNU ones - which allows safe lookup caching) allow dynamic inlining,

Not supporting LLVM would, in my view, be a mistake. I am obviously horrendously biassed when it comes to supporting my runtime (if I didn't think supporting it was a good idea, I wouldn't have written it in the first place).

GNUstep already includes code to support the NeXT runtime, which isn't Free Software at all. Supporting a compiler that is seems like a logical thing to do. With OS X 10.6, people are likely to be writing Cocoa programs with LLVM. If we want them to port their code to GNUstep, then supporting their compiler seems like a sensible thing to do, ignoring some of the shiny things that LLVM would let us do (OS and architecture agnostic .app bundles spring to mind).


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