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Re: clang and FSF's strategy

From: Joseph S. Myers
Subject: Re: clang and FSF's strategy
Date: Thu, 23 Jan 2014 18:21:13 +0000

On Tue, 21 Jan 2014, Alexandre Oliva wrote:

> On Jan 21, 2014, address@hidden (Eric S. Raymond) wrote:
> > I think it is time to question whether the anti-plugins policy is
> > still the best way to accomplish this.
> Err...  Excuse me, but what anti-plugins policy are you talking about?


There are people working right now on improvements to modularity in GCC, 
elimination of global state, and support for use of GCC in a JIT library, 
led by Andrew MacLeod and David Malcolm.  Contributions to those sorts of 
efforts (and to the plugin interface) are more useful than rhetoric.  No 
policy objections are being made to these patches, it's simply a matter of 
the work involved.  If people want suggestions that don't conflict with 
what Andrew and David are working on, a couple of suggestions:

* We have about 700 target macros (my script lists 697 right now, but 
there are likely some false positives, and maybe false negatives), all of 
which should move to the hooks mechanism to enable multiple targets to be 
supported in a single compiler binary, and to get other benefits such as 
not having the build of GCC fail with warnings seen only for some targets 
because of differences in the target macro definitions.  I expect a large 
proportion of these (not used in #if or in code built for the target, 
etc.) could be converted to hooks using some form of script-based 
automatic refactoring, possibly with manual fine-tuning of the resulting 

* Andrew MacLeod's plans for improving static typing are I think largely 
about the middle end - there is plenty of scope for improving static 
typing of datastructures used in the front ends, and cleanly separating 
them from the language-independent compiler as far as possible.

Joseph S. Myers

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