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Re: History of GCC


On Wed, Oct 26, 2016 at 11:55 AM, Jeff Law <law@redhat.com> wrote:
> On 10/26/2016 07:07 AM, Ian Lance Taylor wrote:
>>
>> On Tue, Oct 25, 2016 at 10:53 PM, Will Hawkins <whh8b@virginia.edu> wrote:
>>>
>>>
>>> My name is Will Hawkins and I am a longtime user of gcc and admirer of
>>> the project. I hope that this is the proper forum for the question I
>>> am going to ask. If it isn't, please accept my apology and ignore me.
>>>
>>> I am a real geek and I love the history behind open source projects.
>>> I've found several good resources about the history of "famous" open
>>> source projects and organizations (including, but definitely not
>>> limited to, the very interesting Free as in Freedom 2.0).
>>>
>>> Unfortunately there does not appear to be a good history of the
>>> awesome and fundamental GCC project. I know that there is a page on
>>> the wiki (https://gcc.gnu.org/wiki/History) but that is really the
>>> best that I can find.
>>>
>>> Am I missing something? Are there good anecdotes about the history of
>>> the development of GCC that you think I might find interesting? Any
>>> pointers would be really great!
>>>
>>> Thanks for taking the time to read my questions. Thanks in advance for
>>> any information that you have to offer. I really appreciate everyone's
>>> effort to make such a great compiler suite. It's only with such a
>>> great compiler that all our other open source projects are able to
>>> succeed!
>>
>>
>> There is some history and links at
>> https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/GNU_Compiler_Collection .
>>
>> In my opinion, the history of GCC is not really one of drama or even
>> anecdotes, except for the EGCS split.  There are plenty of people who
>> work on GCC out of personal interest, but for decades now the majority
>> of work on GCC has been by people paid to work on it.  I expect that
>> the result is less interesting as history and more interesting as
>> software.
>
> Agreed.  Speaking for myself, I got interested in GCC to solve a problem,
> then another, then another...  Hacking GCC made for an interesting hobby for
> a few years.  I never imagined it would turn into a career, but 20 years
> later, here I am.  I wouldn't be surprised if others have followed a similar
> path.
>
> jeff

Thank you Ian, Joel and Jeff for your responses!

I really appreciate it. As I said in my first message, I am a real
geek and I certainly did not mean to imply that I thought many people
would find the history interesting. That said, I think that there
might be some people who do find it so.

As an example of the type of software history that I find interesting,
consider these:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TMjgShRuYbg
or
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2kEJoWfobpA
or
https://www.usenix.org/system/files/login/articles/03_lu_010-017_final.pdf
or as a final example
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=69edOm889V4

To answer the question you are probably asking, "No, I have no idea
why I enjoy this type of stuff as much as I do!"

Can any of you recall a turning point where development went from
being driven by hobbyists to being driven by career developers? As a
result of that shift, has there been a change in the project's
priorities? Have there been conflicts between the employer's interests
and those of the project (in terms of project goals, licensing issues,
code quality, etc)?

In any event, I really appreciate your answers. If you have any
information that you think I might find interesting, please feel free
to pass it along. Thanks again!

Will


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