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Re: clang vs free software

From: Rüdiger Sonderfeld
Subject: Re: clang vs free software
Date: Thu, 23 Jan 2014 17:35:02 +0100
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On Thursday 23 January 2014 12:01:39 David Kastrup wrote:
> Richard Stallman <address@hidden> writes:
> > [[[ To any NSA and FBI agents reading my email: please consider    ]]]
> > [[[ whether defending the US Constitution against all enemies,     ]]]
> > [[[ foreign or domestic, requires you to follow Snowden's example. ]]]
> > 
> >     There exist now various packages integrating emacs will elements of
> >     clang.
> >     
> >      These packages are not supporting clang as alternative compiler. 
> >      Rather
> >     
> >     by exploiting clang interfaces that have no gcc analog they offer
> >     exciting
> >     IDE-like features.
> > 
> > They nonetheless encourage people to switch from GCC to Clang.  The
> > features may be useful but this way of providing them hurts our cause.
> Which brings us back to the question: what would be required to provide
> them via GCC or other GNU software?  If nobody bothers with even
> considering the question, it would appear that it is not all that
> important...

AFAIK there have been several attempts to make the AST or GCC frontend more 
easily available (e.g., gcc-xml) and there have been several discussions on 
the GCC mailing lists about this.  But all attempts were blocked by the fear 
that this might be abused by non-free software.

I personally think it was the wrong decision because it did hurt free software 
IDEs and tools, which would have benefited a lot from having a C++ frontend 
easily available.  Non-free software developers usually could afford non-free 
frontends such as EDG.

Now many free software IDEs and tools seem to start using or are developed 
around using libclang.  Which will promote clang over GCC in the long run.  I 
hope that the FSF and GCC developers change their position on this issue.  The 
risk that non-free software might abuse such a move seems to have been 
significantly reduced due to libclang's license being friendly to non-free 


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