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Re: clang/emacs/ecb/semantic

From: Pascal J. Bourguignon
Subject: Re: clang/emacs/ecb/semantic
Date: Sun, 02 Dec 2012 14:59:44 +0100
User-agent: Gnus/5.13 (Gnus v5.13) Emacs/24.2 (gnu/linux)

Richard Stallman <address@hidden> writes:

>     Wouldn't have been better to accept gcc-xml and have gcc cover 99% of
>     the "market", rather than rejecting it, and eventually have gcc left
>     with only 10% of the mind share, and clang/llvm 90%?  I'm afraid this
>     might end like that.
> We do not look at software users as a market.  Our goal is something
> more than popularity.  What matters is users' freedom, and copyleft as
> a weapon to defend it with.  GCC vs LLVM is important mainly as an instance
> of fighting for copyleft.
>     Would a good alternative (for freedom) to be that free compilers (GPL)
>     provide the exact formal grammar they parse, so that tool builders could
>     use it to write compatible parsers to use in their tools?
> If "tool builders could use it to write compatible parsers to use in
> their tools", is that good or is it bad?  You seem to think it is
> always good.  I think it is good if the tools are free, and bad if the
> tools are nonfree.  Nonfree tools (like any nonfree programs) are an
> injustice.
> Part of the reason why clang/llvm weakens our commnity, compared with
> GCC, is that the clang front ends can feed their data to nonfree tools.


Nonetheless, this is a very delicate question.
I can't see a significant difference between:

- the features of LLVM which could be used by a programmer to write
  a closed source IDE, that would deprieve its users of some freedom,

- the use of emacs as an editor to write a diktat depriving some
  population of its freedom.

Why did you write emacs if it can be used to write freedom depriving
laws and degrees? </rethorical>

The GPL license (contrarily to Apple's license) doesn't forbid the use
of the licensed software to develop nuclear power plants or nuclear
weapons.  So GPL software can be used to build nuclear weapons that can
deprive both users and non users of their life.

If we must consider the (possible) ultimate goals of (some of) the users
of our software, should we continue letting them have those freedoms?
Wouldn't it be better to keep our software secret?

Or may we be a little more optimistic, and think that some of those
tools developed from the data exported from LLVM or gcc will be
distributed under the GPL?

It is indeed unfortunate that not more enterprises and programmers use
the GPL, but chose instead mere Open Source licenses.  

But in a situation where there LLVM (OSS) that allows to write tools
(could be proprietary, OSS or even GPL),  it seems to be that if there
was gcc (GPL) that allows to write the same tools (could be proprietary,
OSS or even GPL), would still help promote GPL, since people using LLVM
(OSS) will probably distribute their tools as OSS, while people using
gcc (GPL) will probably distribute their tools in GPL, therefore
providing users the choice between an OSS and a GPL, in addition to the
potential proprietary tools that could be developed with either LLVM or

I've got the impression that the existence and use of GPL software makes
more to promote GPL.  So providing GPL alternatives seems to me to be
more important than trying to forbid proprietary or OSS solutions.

__Pascal Bourguignon__                     http://www.informatimago.com/
A bad day in () is better than a good day in {}.

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