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Re: [PATCH] Fix PR target/16304: AIX 4.x forward reference proble

> > 	GCC releases often require newer versions of Binutils, GDB, or
> > Glibc.  Without it, GCC may not build or be fully operational.  A
> > GNU/Linux distributor may not support a system without the default system
> > toolchain, requiring a complete system upgrade and new license for
> > support.  This does not seem different than the AIX situation to me.
> I agree.

The one difference is that AIX is not free software.

> There's nothing wrong, in principle, with GCC declaring AIX 4.3 unsupported.
> (In fact, for some time I've suggested that we should actively remove 
> support for relatively obscure systems, rather than the traditional 
> policy of "allow bitrot, but if someone steps forward to maintain it, 
> let them."  I'm not necessarily saying that AIX 4.3 is a relatively 
> obscure system; I don't know much about that.)

I agree with this approach but it will obsolete my position as maintainer
for various obscure systems ;-(

Albert Chin asked me to look at the AIX assembler problem because
he supports various AIX clients using AIX 4.3.  He specifically
needs GCC C++ to build a number of the packages that he distributes.
He also supports clients using HP-UX 10.20.  Thus, he still has a
support needs for various old systems even if his clients don't use
GCC themselves.

As far as I can tell, the principle metric is the presence of a
maintainer and reasonably active maintenance.  I don't have the time
or the systems to adopt AIX 4.x but I do have a few more patches in
the pipeline.  I believe Albert would like to see GCC support on AIX
4.3 for another couple of years.

For some reason, I spent the past couple of days trying to work
through various bugs on the vax.  I believe that I now have a set
of patches that will allow a full bootstrap except for the Ada
runtime on the 3.3 and 3.4 branches.  Thus, it's possible to keep
old systems going if there's a will.

I still get emails from various vax adicts trying to get netbsd and
linux going on the vax.  These activities certainly aren't mainstream
but they do provide a training ground.  This is how I came to GCC.
GCC isn't getting any simpler and the demands for a quality product
probably will increase.  Thus, I believe there is a role for a set
of minor ports.  On the other hand, rot has to be controlled, so
housekeeping is needed from time to time.

Happy New Year,
J. David Anglin                        
National Research Council of Canada              (613) 990-0752 (FAX: 952-6602)

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