Basile STARYNKEVITCH basile@starynkevitch.net
Thu Jul 12 15:11:00 GMT 2007

Dave Korn wrote:
> On 12 July 2007 15:29, Doug Gregor wrote:
>> On 7/12/07, Basile STARYNKEVITCH <basile@starynkevitch.net> wrote:
>>> Mark Mitchell wrote:
>>>> 3. After GCC 4.2.1 is released, we will renumber the branch to GCC 4.3.
>>>>   What would have been GCC 4.2.2 will instead be GCC 4.3.3, to try to
>>>> emphasize the GPLv3 switch.  The GCC mainline will then be GCC 4.4.
>>> I find this surprising and a bit confusing! My first reaction (maybe not
>>> enough thought) is that most users don't care much about GCC source code,
>>> only about its functionality (making an executable from C or C++ source
>>> code). I am not very sure that a "minor" change on the GCC source code
>>> license should affect so significantly the version numbering.  
>> I had the same reaction. A new major release of GCC 
>   Ok, hadn't you better both stop right there.  "Major" release?
> "significantly" affect the version numbering?  We're going from 4.2 to 4.3.
> That's the MINOR release number that's changing.

Agreed, but I believe remembering that linking object code compiled from C++ source by gcc-4.0 with object code compiled 
from C++ source by gcc-4.1 (or maybe it was 4.1 & 4.2) failed in some corner cases. But perhaps my memory is wrong and I 
might be confusing with gcc-3.4 vs gcc-4.0.

If all object code compiled by same major (but different minor) version of GCC is expected to be and almost always has 
been compatible in the past (e.g. gcc-3.2 vs gcc-3.3 for example, or gcc-4.0 vs gcc-4.1) I retract my comment.

Still, I do believe that almost all my distant colleagues from CEA http://www.cea.fr/ (notably compiling their numerical 
code for e.g. nuclear, astronomical or thermodynamical numerical computations) will find funny a version number change 
from 4.2 to 4.2 only for the compiler license change. Most of them don't care about GPLv2 vs GPLv3 for the compiler, 
they just want to compile their (sadly proprietary) numerical code (in Fortran or C++).

IMHO the only persons who really care about GPLv2 vs GPLv3 are open-source enthusiasts (and active open-source 
contributors). Unfortunately, they are probably a minority in the huge set of GCC users: I believe that in all the 
gcc-4.1 processes on the entire Earth which have been running yesterday july 11th 2007 from 0:00GMT to 23:59GMT, most of 
them has been -on that day- compiling proprietary code, and even more of them don't care about the GPLv2 to GPLv3 change 
in the GCC compiler, and won't understand a 4.2.2 -> 4.3.3 version string transition.

Very few of the developers I know which are using Linux and GCC are paid to develop open-source applications. Almost 
everyone is compiling proprietary applications with GCC.

But I understand it is a very political trade-off to decide about GCC versioning scheme, so I leave it to people who 
know. But since Mark Mitchell gently asked, I just gave my uninformed opinion, and I praise him and the whole SC for the 
GPLv2 -> GPLv3 transition (which very probably means a lot of work for them).

Basile STARYNKEVITCH         http://starynkevitch.net/Basile/
email: basile<at>starynkevitch<dot>net | mobile: +33 6 8501 2359
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