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Re: GCC for SPARC Systems
- From: Philippe Rigault <philippe dot rigault at borabora dot crchul dot ulaval dot ca>
- To: gcc at gcc dot gnu dot org
- Date: Fri, 10 Mar 2006 23:44:40 -0500
- Subject: Re: GCC for SPARC Systems
- References: <firstname.lastname@example.org>
I apologize in advance if this is a bit long or off-topic, but you might be
interested to hear first-hand what some of current Sun customers have to say.
On Fri, 10 Mar 2006, Alexey Starovoytov wrote:
> On Fri, 10 Mar 2006, Steven Bosscher wrote:
> > On Friday 03 March 2006 02:46, Alexey Starovoytov wrote:
> > > We are pleased to announce the availability of GCC for SPARC (R)
> > > Systems (GCCfss) at http://cooltools.sunsource.net/gcc/
This kind of attitude shows, once more, how much your company still has to
learn to reach to free software users and understand what they mean by
'community', 'free' and 'appealing'. (hint: 'free' is not free-beer and
'community' is not a group listening to a coordinator)
> > Instead of pleased, I'd be ashamed for announcing this.
Especially to this audience!
> Being in hardware org I'm ashamed that SPARC cpus are not performing
> well with GCC, so I'm pleased that we can do something about it with
Well, these days one should be ashamed at SPARC performance, period.
GCC is the least of SPARC's problems.
Our lab is a large Genome center which used to be SPARC/Solaris-only, and
remember when I joined two years ago and argued with our scientists about
why I personally ditched SPARCs for cpu-intensive tasks around 1995 (ah, the
late Alpha chip, sob!) and couldn't come close to performance of GNU/Linux on
Pentiums since 1999. Showing people that for some of our high-performance
bioinformatics applications, I would crush a $30,000 2-CPU V880 UltraSparc
1.2GHz with my $2,000 Dell PentiumIV laptop was, I would say, an eye opener.
I am glad Sun has seen the light in terms of hardware and has been selling AMD
Opterons (very nice ones by the way) for the last couple of years, which is
the only way they could stay in the server/workstation business with us (we
bought a lot of their Opteron boxes here, all models). They haven't got it
yet for laptops apparently, given the recently announced Ultra-3 SPARC-based
line (which my Acer Ferrari will eat for breakfast in energy-saving mode).
As for niagara chips, I will consider it the day GNU/Linux and GCC run on
I can tell you that what we call performance today in my field is called
dual-core-Opterons, GNU/Linux and GCC. We let our SPARCs do legacy,
file-serving and non-performance tasks, trying to get all our university
students off them as well so that they don't get disgusted of Unix by
exposure to Solaris, "java desktop" and X terminals (we give them
KDE/GNU/Linux on Opteron workstations).
We will publish various performance metrics when time permits in the coming
months on Single/Dual core Sun Opterons with GCC-4.1.0 on Fedora Core 5 and
GCC-3.4.4 on Fedora Core 3.
> > it feels like you're announcing with pride how you ripped off gcc.
> We are proud to make SPARC cpus faster.
> The users care about performance and reliability of their apps.
> I don't think it's matter to them how compiler is called or that it's
> rip off of something else.
You are wrong, and in my case by a long shot.
First because, as an engineer I do not like inefficent processes consisting in
making something slightly better if you are in a position to contribute to it
and make it a lot better.
Second because having worked 15 years in the field of genomics and
bioinfromatics, I can tell you that the sequencing of genomes and molecular
understanding of biology that was produced over the last two decades owes
pretty much everything to the power of open raw data access and free software
to handle it, for which GCC can claim to be a cornerstone. I have witnessed
this in academia, biotechs and large pharma companies.
We (creators and users of this information) have been _delayed_ by attitudes
like yours. So you are not bringing performance, you are reaping short-term
gains but preventing larger ones by not putting your energy where it would
have the most impact.
So please start contributing to GCC, and then we will consider looking at what
you are doing.
And thank you very much to all GCC developpers.
Philippe Rigault (GCC user since 1990).
Centre de Génomique de Québec