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Date: Sun, 13 Jan 2013 10:29:39 -0600
From: Rob Landley <rob@...dley.net>
To: musl@...ts.openwall.com
Subject: Re: NULL

On 01/13/2013 08:56:15 AM, Luca Barbato wrote:
> On 13/01/13 15:29, Rob Landley wrote:
> > So fond of gcc. The LFS guys are currently discussing the 4.7.2  
> release
> > or whatever it is that just came out and requires a C++ compiler on  
> the
> > host. (I'd link to the archives but their website is half-migrated  
> right
> > now.)
> 
> It is known, if the people working on that are confident that having  
> C++
> as core language is what boosted clang instead of having a clear
> separation of layers, good reusability and a clean API so be it.

No, gcc was a hairball because Richard Stallman explicitly wanted it to  
be (for example see https://lwn.net/Articles/259157/), he feared  
allowing the pieces to be cleanly separated because then you could  
decouple them and use a proprietary back-end with the gcc front-end,  
and vice versa. (Which happened anyway, it's how llvm was developed in  
the first place, the clang front-end was a replacement for the gcc  
front end in llvm/gcc.)

> (Meanwhile gccgo and gold still has a good chunk of neat shortcomings
> making a good point that the language isn't a magic bullet)

When your code is a pile of scar tissue, starting over from scratch  
provides massive initial progress, regardless of implementation details  
of the new one. Of course code is often a mass of scar tissue for a  
_reason_:

   http://www.joelonsoftware.com/articles/fog0000000069.html

Then again, Spolsky isn't particularly versed in open source  
development. Wasting huge quantities of effort that just gets thrown  
away is _how_ we defeated brooks' law. We scale the same way genetic  
algorithms do: try everything with no coordination and then do an  
editorial pass on the slush pile to fight off Sturgeon's law. Rinse,  
repeat. So his horror at wasted effort is misplaced for us. The insight  
that a mature code base enbodies a bunch of hidden knowledge in the  
pattern of scars is correct, but that just means when we do the next  
one we need to update the standards so they _do_ properly document the  
current requirements and rationale. And have a massive corpus of real  
world test data to run through it, plus be prepared to receive  
<strike>endless complaints</strike> feedback from an army of testers  
who will break it in ingenous ways.

> And we are discussing on how bend a C runtime to fit the C++ runtime.
> 
> I do really hope Go will win more people and useful code and  
> integration
> will come up to make C++ less important.

C is a good language. Go doesn't need to replace C, no matter how much  
C++ FUDs it.

C++ containing C and calling itself a good language is about as  
relevant as a mud pie containing a glass of water and calling itself a  
good beverage. (If you think all additions are improvements explain CSS  
and region locking in DVDs.)

That said, people wrote useful programs in Cobol and ADA for many  
years, and even after they sober up they'll still need legacy support  
to run the results.

Rob

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