Plug-in architecture on the way for the gcc

Alex Handy
January 27, 2009 —  (Page 1 of 2)
When Richard Stallman began writing Bison in 1983, he was only trying to build the bits of an operating system he would need to write another operating system. But that recursive goal was no stranger than the recursive name he would create for the software he would eventually create: the GNU Project, where GNU standard for “ GNU is Not Unix.”

And now, 25 years later, one of the most important tools to come out of the GNU Project’s drive for the GNU Operating System—the GNU Compiler Collection—has received approval from the Free Software Foundation to begin work on a plug-in architecture.

Mark Mitchell, founder of CodeSourcery, confirmed that the FSF gave its permission to prepare the gcc for plug-ins. This is the first time that such permission has been granted.

Mark Mitchell, Founder of CodeSourcery, and member of the GCC steering committee.
Previously, the FSF and gcc projects had debated whether or not to force plug-ins to adopt the GNU Public License, and today's decision bore out the FSF's goals. gcc plug-ins will have to use the GPL, but Mitchell said that this shouldn't be too much of a burden for developers.

“It does differ some from something like Firefox or Eclipse, where the plug-ins can be licensed under whatever terms," said Mitchell. "Obviously it's consistent with the FSF. I don't think it's going to be that big of an issue because the goal of people who write plug-ins is not to make money."

Some of the first plug-ins to surface, said Mitchell, should come from universities that are already working on ways to glimpse the inner workings of the gcc during compilation.

David Edelsohn, maintainer of the PowerPC branch of GCC, and member of the GCC steering committee.
Ian Lance Taylor, senior staff software engineer at Google, has been contributing code to the gcc project since 1990. He said that, in all that time, the biggest change he's seen the compiler collection undergo was the move to Single Static Assignment in gcc 4.0, released in 2005. He said that the gcc is still relevant in today's market despite the large number of languages and compilers available.

Related Search Term(s): GCC, GNU, GPL, Unix, Free Software Foundation

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