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Re: Contributing LLVM.org patches to gud.el

From: David Kastrup
Subject: Re: Contributing LLVM.org patches to gud.el
Date: Sat, 07 Feb 2015 11:18:05 +0100
User-agent: Gnus/5.13 (Gnus v5.13) Emacs/25.0.50 (gnu/linux)

Helmut Eller <address@hidden> writes:

> On Fri, Feb 06 2015, Stefan Monnier wrote:
>> Yes, they compete.  But the intention is not to replace one with
>> another.  The intention of people working on LLVM is to solve their
>> immediate problem, and for one reason or another, they don't consider
>> GCC as a good way to solve their problem.
>> Nobody would benefit from killing GCC, really.  Not even control freaks
>> who think the GPL is the plague.
> I wonder if there is enough room for more than one competitor.
> If evolutionary principles apply to software, then GCC might indeed be
> in danger, because currently it does look like LLVM is more "fit",
> produces (much) more "offspring" and generally takes resources away
> from GCC.

If you want to argue evolutionary biology, it makes no sense to muddle
together all niches.  Humans don't need to compete with polar bears and

GCC has been supplanted by LLVM as the compiler of choice for operating
systems in the BSD camp, yes.  The reasons are not technical.  Neither
are they substantially a desire to get get rid of software freedom but
rather a desire to cater to software freedom in the BSD style.

GCC has been a thorn in the side of the BSD camp that they are getting
rid of by converting to LLVM.  It has been a thorn in the side of the
BSD camp since GCC is licensed differently than the rest of their
software, and they are not in control of either development or licensing
of GCC.

The GPL and the GNU project is the stronghold of software freedom.  But
we are not going to do software freedom a favor by raiding and burning
down ourselves every fair happening outside of the protection of our
castle walls.  Our concern has to be to keep the state inside of the
castle walls both secure and welcoming.

Our past successes in matching both goals have contributed to and
enabled the rise of the BSD-based software universes and cultures.  That
there are significant bodies of software where the principal development
and dissemination of software is not under proprietary control and
interests is a result of the GNU project's guarantees of freedom and
openness moved development forward in a way that was hard to match with
closed and proprietary developments.

If we try to close down every cooperation with non-GNU free software, we
are sacrificing our goals for the sake of our temples.  Which is not
unusual: the most bloody and prolonged wars have been between people
praying to the same God in different temples and with different rites.

But there are no winners in that kind of war.

> It also worries me that OpenGL drivers use LLVM to compile shader
> programs, making LLVM quite an important part of the graphics stack.
> And GCC has AFAIK no backend for any GPU.

GCC is unsuitable for compilers intended to keep trade secrets hidden
away like those of most modern GPUs.  That's a feature, not a bug.
I don't see that we should strive to change that in any manner.  It
certainly is annoying that LLVM provides those GPU vendors with a
compiler they can freely get and lock down.  But they were bound to
route around GCC in some manner anyway.

David Kastrup

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