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Re: Patch: delete treelang

I'm cc-ing gcc@ & gcc-patches@ list. I feel this interesting discussion belongs more to gcc@

Tim Josling wrote:

Treelang was based on Richard Kenner's toy language. I packaged it up to
include as a part of GCC because toy had fallen behind the GCC mainline
and no longer worked, and there were various versions floating around
that were all broken in different ways. When I re-started work on my
COBOL compiler again a few months ago, I was very pleased to see
treelang still there because it will make my job of rebuilding an
interface to the GCC back end a lot easier.

I suspect that people who have worked on GCC full time for a number of
years, and who have commit authority, can tend to forget the many
obstacles that are in front of someone starting work on GCC,
particularly on a front end.

I really agree with that. We usually do not have enough in mind that GCC is a particularily difficult open source software to dive into. And this is a major bottleneck to attract new developers & maintainers.

Issues are not only on the front end. It is also difficult to interest people to work on the middle end, and perhaps even on the back end.

FWIW, I'm also trying to attract some new people & companies to work on GCC within european projects, and it is a very difficult job (even with the perspective of partial funding with european taxpayers' money).

The impediments to starting work on GCC, particularly building a front
end, are formidable. Treelang was an attempt to somewhat reduce those
impediments. In particular the front end documentation has traditionally
been considerably more limited than the documentation for the rest of

I would say the same for the middle-end also, and also for infrastructure stuff. Even the building part of GCC (eg and are very intimidating).

The main front ends also tend to fractally mix language-specific
code with the generic GCC back end interface which makes it much harder
to understand what the essentials are and to use one as a starting

It is very difficult to be fair and well informed, but I have the impression that GCC is more difficult to dive into than perhaps other similar monster open source (= free GPL-ed software) projects.

I tend to believe that we the GCC community should make diving into GCC easier, even if I don't understand how to do that. I really think that GCC is still lacking of developers (& developping efforts), and that its current state (which is remarkable for a 20+ years software) make it too intimidating for many potential developers.

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