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Re: clang vs free software

From: Richard Stallman
Subject: Re: clang vs free software
Date: Sun, 26 Jan 2014 15:06:27 -0500

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    > We don't want to make a program's entire AST available for parsing
    > because that would make it easy to extend GCC with proprietary
    > programs.

    It would also have made it easy to add modern features to Emacs and 
    other free editors. Symbol table information is flatly inadequate given 
    that in modern languages, typing information is highly contextual.

You seem to have interpreted "symbol table information" in the
narrowest possible way.  Try a broader interpretation, please.

    Free software is great, but if nobody uses it, the entire enterprise is 
    futile, sad, and ultimately irrelevant.

Free software is equally futile, sad, and irrelevant if everyone uses
it...as a base for nonfree software.

You mention the threat that GCC might be superseded.  That is real.
But the threat that GCC might become a base for nonfree software is
also real -- and has been real for 25 years.  This sad irrelevance
could have happened decades ago if we had not taken care to prevent
it.  I saw it close up when I met with Jobs at Next, and he asked me
if they could distribute their Objective C front end as binaries and
let the user link it with the .o files of GCC.

For freedom's sake I had to find a path between those two threats.  I
think I have done a pretty good job; but ultimately Jobs dedicated the
resources of a powerful company that hates freedom to fighting us.

Perhaps there was a better way to do it.  I am not perfect as a
strategist, after all.  But you can't find a better way to avoid both
threats unless you recognize them both.

Dr Richard Stallman
President, Free Software Foundation
51 Franklin St
Boston MA 02110
www.fsf.org  www.gnu.org
Skype: No way! That's nonfree (freedom-denying) software.
  Use Ekiga or an ordinary phone call.

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