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Re: Why not contribute? (to GCC)


On 04/24/2010 02:07 PM, Leif Ekblad wrote:
Why do I not contribute to GCC? Well, I tried to get some really simple
patches for RDOS
accepted in 2006, but it seemed to take forever. I'm not sure if they have
been accepted now,
or if the binutils patches (which were accepted) are still there. For
somebody wanting to support
a new OS with GCC (that is not unix-style), the patch acceptance policy is
simply making the
whole process impossible to do in reasonable time. Such a new OS will need
hundreds or
even thousands of patches, and getting all of these accepted in reasonable
time seems more
or less impossible.
Maybe my search is wrong but "rdos site:gcc.gnu.org" doesn't
turn it up.

I don't know how divergent rdos from any other OS that is
not self-hosted and is cross-compiled but there shouldn't
be 100s or 1000s of patches required to support an OS on gcc
unless you have a divergent object format or are including
a new CPU.

Also you haven't mentioned two major issues that are
not "patch" related.

(1) Did you arrange for a maintainer for the rdos target?

(2) Did you submit test results with the port?

(3) Has copyright assignment paperwork been dealt with?

I maintain the *-rtems* targets (~12 architectures) and there
just isn't much special to them in contrast to the large amount of
code that just works fine with a bit of OS specific configuration
and glue.

Not to pick but from Google'ing the mailing list, I just see you
asking questions.  I didn't find code being submitted.

And speaking from experience, if you submit code and it doesn't
get reviewed and merged.  Ask again.  The submitter cares a lot
more about it than anyone else and that's just the nature of the
game.  If you don't care enough about your area to follow up, why
should anyone else?
When I had given up on GCC, I got interested in OpenWatcom. They gave me a
new branch
to work in, and eventually helped me integrate my changes with trunk. This
worked very well
and RDOS will be supported in the upcoming 1.9 release.
And if you had arranged for the things above, the gcc community
would have supported you doing the same.  There are a number of
Microblaze and other special project branches.


The 2006 patches I worked a lot to find out are probably totally obsolete
today, and needs to
be done from scratch again. This is the nature of supporting new OSes. I
just doesn't work
to find out the patches if nobody cares to incorporate them, as they will
quickly become obsolete.
However, I suspect that the community is only interested in supporting
unix-like environments,
where these issues doesn't exist.

Depends.  Not seeing the patches I can't say but I have maintained
patches for odd RTEMS targets (e.g. sparc64 and nios) off the
main source across multiple major gcc releases without any
real problems.

--joel
Leif Ekblad



----- Original Message -----
From: "Ross Ridge"<rridge@csclub.uwaterloo.ca>
To:<gcc@gcc.gnu.org>
Sent: Saturday, April 24, 2010 2:12 PM
Subject: Re: Why not contribute? (to GCC)


Manuel López-Ibáñez writes:
What reasons keep you from contributing to GCC?
The big reason the copyright assignment.  I never even bothered to read
it, but as I don't get anything in return there's no point.  Why should
put obligaitons on myself, open myself up to even unlikely liabilities,
just so my patches can merged into the official source distribution?
I work on software on my own time to solve my own problems.  I'm happy
enough not "horde" it and give it away for "free", but it doesn't
make much difference to me if anyone else actually ends up using it.
I can have my own patched version of GCC that does what I want without
signing anything.

Another reason is the poor patch submission process.  Why e-mail a patch
if I know, as a new contributor, there's a good chance it won't even be
looked at by anyone?  Why would I want to go through I a process where I'm
expected to keep begging until my patch finally gets someone's attention?

I also just don't need the abuse.  GCC, while not the most of hostile of
open source projects out there, it's up there.  Manuel López-Ibáñez's
unjustified hostility towards Michael Witten in this thread is just a
small example.

Finally, it's also a lot of work.  Just building GCC can be pain, having
to find upto date versions of a growing list of math libraries that
don't benefit me in the slightest way.  Running the test suite takes a
long time, so even trivial patches require a non-trivial amount of work.
Anything more serious can take a huge ammount of time.  I've abandonded
projects once I realized it would be lot quicker to find some other
solution like using assembly, rather than trying to get GCC to do what
I wanted it to do.

Now these are just the main reasons why I don't contribute to GCC.
I'm not arguing that any these issues need to be or can be fixed.  If I
had what I thought where good solutions that would be better overall to
GCC then I'd have suggested them long ago.

I will add, that I don't think code quality is a problem with GCC.  I hate
the GNU coding style as much as anyone, but it's used consistantly and
that's what matters.  Compared other open and closed projects I've seen
it's as easy to understand and maintain as anything.  GNU binutils is
a pile of poo, but I don't know of any codebase the size of GCC that's
as nice to work with.

Ross Ridge




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