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Re: clang vs free software

From: Helmut Eller
Subject: Re: clang vs free software
Date: Sun, 26 Jan 2014 11:22:30 +0100
User-agent: Gnus/5.13 (Gnus v5.13) Emacs/24.3.50 (gnu/linux)

On Sun, Jan 26 2014, Richard Stallman wrote:

>     Maybe nobody bothers because using clang is easier than to fight with
>     FSF policies.
> If you mean the policy that we don't let GCC become a platform for
> proprietary compilers, what does it mean to think of this as something
> to "fight"?

With "fight" I mean explaining for the hundredth time that the FSF
policy of introducing artificial technical hurdles to prevent some
nonfree programs does

 a) cause more "collateral damage" than it prevents real damage.  If
    nonfree programs don't have access to the AST then so don't have
    free programs.

 b) does not actually work.  LLVM used GCC as front-end (known as
    llvm-gcc) before Clang existed and before GCC had a plugin
    mechanism.  Today the DragonEgg plugin makes it possible to use GCC
    front-ends, e.g. for Fortran or Go, with LLVM as backend.  Which
    sounds a lot like the thing that the FSF wants to avoid.

IMO, we would be better served with legal hurdles than with technical
hurdles.  E.g. the license could say that using GCC as platform for
proprietary compilers (DragonEgg) are not allowed, while using GCC as
platform for free compilers (or editors like Emacs) is allowed and

(Clang/LLVM is free software, as far as I can tell. So discouraging
integration of Clang with Emacs has probably not so much to do with a
free/nonfree distinction but more with a gnu/nongnu distinction.)


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