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Re: Long term viability of GCC (was Re: gcc : c++11 : full support : eta?)

On 23/01/13 19:38, Diego Novillo wrote:
[ We have drifted way off the original subject. ]

On Wed, Jan 23, 2013 at 2:16 PM, Uday Khedker <> wrote:

Yes, absolutely. And GCC community should consider it important to bring in
newcomers particularly young students and experimenters from the academia.

Why is it that most student projects these days are on LLVM and not on GCC?
Had these students been doing projects on GCC, some of them may turn
contributors in future.
Yes.  This is an issue for the long term viability of GCC as a
project.  In fact, I sometimes think that we may be past the tipping

Note that the very set of developers that can fix these problems are,
traditionally, the least likely to do much about it.  These developers
are already comfortable with the codebase, they know how to do the
things they are hired to do and employers are largely on the same
boat.  Additionally, established developers will generally resist
change, because these changes lead to short-term instability and bugs
(the releng/maintainer mindset).

Evolving this codebase is largely a thankless and difficult job.  It's
technically interesting to me, but I know I can only do so much.  We
have other demands on our time and often this conflicts with the
nature of these changes.  Some developers have done some work here and
there to improve the codebase, but GCC's accumulated technical debt is

If this trend continues, the pool of experienced GCC developers will
eventually start to dwindle.  Without developer renewal, GCC will
naturally die out.  This cycle has happened many times before and it
will continue to happen.  Yet, it would be interesting to have two or
more strong competing open source compilers.  The cross-pollination
that open source competition encourages is beneficial to all (users
and developers).


As I am happy to be finding out though, even from RTL (old pdfs and stuff :)) GCC wasn't what I thought it was, to quote earlier:
I really have a theory here, I think (like me! I came here in the hope of
'fixing' GCC from what I thought it was to what it is because I, suppose I
am loyal, I don't really like BSD, the lack of obligation to keep things
free, anyway that'll start a dispute probably so don't worry) it's all the
bad press, my impression was GCC is really old and archaic, not very good
for developing new optimisations, had a crap IR and there was this newcomer
that only made these problems known because it fixes them.
I know now that most of them were wrong BTW!
Ah, well - the old issue that LLVM has just become a very good
marketing machinery
(and we've stayed at being a compiler - heh).

You see my point though right?

Is it not just bad press? The articles perpetuate the "Wow look how easy clang is" which no one expects of GCC.


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