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Re: Emacs contributions, C and Lisp

From: Óscar Fuentes
Subject: Re: Emacs contributions, C and Lisp
Date: Sun, 02 Mar 2014 19:27:52 +0100
User-agent: Gnus/5.13 (Gnus v5.13) Emacs/24.3.50 (gnu/linux)

Richard Stallman <address@hidden> writes:

> By mentioning just part of the situation, you've created the appearace
> that my decision backfired.  Looking at the real goal we see it was
> successful.

I agree with ESR: your decision backfired. Furthermore, the worse is yet
to come.

>     LLVM got off the ground because GCC, by policy, refused to provide
>     interfaces that some toolmakers wanted.
> True.  Note that I set this policy because the other choice would have
> immediately opened the door to nonfree compilers based on GCC.

This is not correct. The key point that enabled LLVM/Clang for
propietary software is the license, not its architecture. With the
LLVM/Clang architecture, if it was GPLed, you either end with a combined
work or having to create a Free driver for interfacing with the non-free
part. The later was always possible with GCC.

>       Consequently, those hackers
>     exercised their freedom by going around GCC rather than through it.
> Yes, they did, and brought about part of the bad results I tried to
> avoid -- around 15 years later.  We delayed them for 15 years!

LLVM was usable circa 2003. Clang started in 2007 and was usable as a C
compiler on 2009, IIRC.

BTW, who are "them"?

> Not only that, but since Clang only handles C and C++,

Clang handles C, C++ and Objective C/C++. There are projecs for adding

> we have also
> reduced the scope of the bad results.  We are still succeeding in
> preventing them for other languages.

LLVM acts as the backend for a large number of compilers for multiple
languages. Most of them are Free Software.

It's also very attractive for researchers and teachers, which creates a
cumulative effect. From experience, I can say that hacking LLVM is far
easier, pleasant and productive than working with GCC. Too bad that
proposals for modernizing GCC's code base were rejected for so long.

> This was not a permanent total victory, sad to say, but it was a
> victory.  It shows that my decision was right.

Putting GCC on the way to irrelevance is not a victory.


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