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Re: Truth matters when writing software and selecting leaders

From: Martin
Subject: Re: Truth matters when writing software and selecting leaders
Date: Tue, 6 Apr 2021 12:25:25 +0000

On 4/5/21 5:52 PM, Jean Louis wrote:
I do understand the strive to perfectionism and there are projects
like Guix which strive to reach the point you are talking. Maybe such
projects can become bootstrapping distributions for other
distributions which cannot or did not reach that far yet.
Guix is nice but at the moment it requires Guile(approx 20mb of binaries) to bootstrap itself. Better solution is - there are even plans to integrate it with Guix directly, Debian and many other projects.
What means "to trust" compiler? We already trust our compilers,
obviously. We have confidence, faith in compilers and people making
it. Free software is insecure and we trust people behind
distributions. We have only freedom to verify it though largest
majority of users including programmers cannot possibly verify free
software on a system as it would take a life time. OpenBSD people are
verifying the system for decades they still did not finish. It is
never ending story.
Well I don't trust compilers like any other software and I don't trust any people behind them. The biggest advantage of open-source, gnu freedom "free software", etc in general is just the ability to verify the code itself. There are still many difficulties and limited ways to do it but it doesn't mean the verification effort is pointless. I believe in the future where all the basic computer hardware/software/systems could be formally verified and audited by anyone and in any time. People should be able to build from very scratch, from nand logical gates and below to complex linux riscv machines and above to have full control in all that process. Small simple concepts like transparency, reproducible-builds, bootstrappability, simplicity, minimalism, etc are very essential to reach that perfect goal.
Maybe you wish to say we have to control compiler, but compiler is
huge, not even compiler developers can know what is everything inside,
they always find some new problems to solve.
Hopefully there are still alternatives, and if GCC won't fix itself on time than it gonna die by natural selection.

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