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Re: gcc 3.5 integration branch proposal

On Mon, Jan 12, 2004 at 07:05:54PM -0500, Daniel Jacobowitz wrote:
> "Same high quality"?  I know you're aware of them, but you might want
> to revisit the reasons that _no vendor_ I know of in several years has
> shipped an FSF released compiler.

For this message I'm taking off the SC hat and putting on the corporate user

My employer uses FSF-released compilers in preference to those
vendor-hacked compilers to develop its commericial products.  That's
because we can't have one GCC compiler for GNU/Linux and another one with
a different set of bugs for Solaris, and because we usually need a newer
compiler and an older OS version.

> Even Debian, which is chronically
> short of the talented manpower required for compiler development, ships
> fifteen hundred lines of GCC patches plus a bleeding edge 3.3-cvs
> snapshot last I checked.

That's inaccurate in several respects.  First, Debian has not shipped
yet; you are describing what is in their testing branch.  Second, most of
the 1500 lines do not touch the gcc source itself, but create the
Debian-specific files for their packaging system.  AFAIK, Debian is
assuming that their 3.3-cvs compiler will correspond to 3.3.3 by the
time sarge is shipped.  By doing what they are doing, the Debian people
are finding bugs in 3.3.x that no one else is finding (thanks to their
ports to platforms that would otherwise get little use).

> I suspect the primary users of the release tarballs are roll-your-own
> developers (mainly either embedded or need-a-newer-C++) and large site
> installations (universities, corporate, etc.) who have a stable
> existing OS with an older compiler.

We fall into the latter category, but it's common.

Corporations building product for GNU/Linux were until recently requiring
rather old configurations, like Red Hat 7.2 or 7.3 or Enterprise 2.1.
Products have long life cycles.  That means that we are typically using
a newer version of GCC than whatever the vendor shipped as part of the OS.
Given that GNU/Linux is only one of several targets, the existence of
Red Hat's "2.96" was pretty much ignored as a candidate for use, since it
did not exist as an option for Solaris, HP/UX, AIX, etc.  So, for us, what
the vendor shipped really did not matter all that much.

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