May 10, 2012
On Wednesday, May 09, 2012 22:15:23 Andrei Alexandrescu wrote:
> On 5/9/12 3:51 PM, Jonathan M Davis wrote:
> > Yeah. The lack of open sourceness for the backend is pretty much complete FUD.
> The problem is, the damage is there and is real. It's like in those crazy situations - an allegation of harassment still affects a teacher's career, even if there's a simple explanation. The only answer to "is it open source?" can be an unqualified "yes".

Well, that's what FUD does. It creates Fear Uncertainty and Doubt without being backed by facts. It just creates damage. So, the situation itself shouldn't be a problem, but people keep bringing it up anyway, which _does_ cause us problems.

> I wish we could get rid of this crappy backend situation.

Yeah, but I don't know how. As long as Semantec has the rights to it and won't change its license, we don't have much choice - not unless we want to replace the whole thing.

- Jonathan M Davis
May 10, 2012
On Thursday, 10 May 2012 at 03:35:37 UTC, Jonathan M Davis wrote:
> On Wednesday, May 09, 2012 22:15:23 Andrei Alexandrescu wrote:
>> On 5/9/12 3:51 PM, Jonathan M Davis wrote:
>> > Yeah. The lack of open sourceness for the backend is pretty much complete
>> > FUD.
>> The problem is, the damage is there and is real. It's like in those
>> crazy situations - an allegation of harassment still affects a teacher's
>> career, even if there's a simple explanation. The only answer to "is it
>> open source?" can be an unqualified "yes".
>
> Well, that's what FUD does. It creates Fear Uncertainty and Doubt without
> being backed by facts. It just creates damage. So, the situation itself
> shouldn't be a problem, but people keep bringing it up anyway, which _does_
> cause us problems.
>
>> I wish we could get rid of this crappy backend situation.
>
> Yeah, but I don't know how. As long as Semantec has the rights to it and won't
> change its license, we don't have much choice - not unless we want to replace
> the whole thing.
>
> - Jonathan M Davis

It's a crazy idea I know, but maybe we could, as a community, buy the rights from Symantec. Blender was a close-source program originally and the open-source community raised money to buy the source code from the defunct company that made Blender.

May 10, 2012
On Thursday, 10 May 2012 at 03:40:54 UTC, Michaël Larouche wrote:
> It's a crazy idea I know, but maybe we could, as a community,  buy the rights from Symantec. Blender was a close-source  program originally and the open-source community raised money  to buy the source code from the defunct company that made  Blender.

 I'd prefer to see LLVM used as the back end; mostly based on emerging technologies and it's likely a bit cleaner than GNU.

 Anyways. If the community wants to buy the rights so we can free it, I guess it's just a matter of collecting the money and finding out what their price is, and they have to weigh the cost vs current and future possible profits. How much would it cost to buy it from them? $100K? $25K?
May 10, 2012
"Joseph Rushton Wakeling" <joseph.wakeling@webdrake.net> wrote in message news:mailman.476.1336601495.24740.digitalmars-d@puremagic.com...
> On 09/05/12 23:38, Nick Sabalausky wrote:
>> Especially if/when we finally get good support for ARM-based phones and tablets (back in my day, we called them PDAs), as that would be completely non-DMD.
>
> Yea, ARM support seems important to me too, both for phones, tablets etc. and for much of the new upcoming server solutions.

Really? ARM servers? This is the first I've heard of it. (Intel must be crapping themselves.)

>I also fancy coding with D on a Raspberry Pi. :-)
>

Me too! Imagine how much more power you could get out of it using D instead of the packed-in Python.

But I think the big bottleneck there is actually *getting* a Raspberry Pi ;) Seriously, I heard that some lucky few had actually gotten theirs a while ago, so I went looking to get in line for one (expecting there would still be quite a delay between ordering and shipping). But there's so much interest, nobody's even accepting preorders anymore. All you can do is get on a list to be notified of updates to availability. Apperently, even the preorders that *have* gone through are backlogged to at least the middle of summer.

Just as well, I guess: Even if I had one today, it'd probably be quite awhile before I'd even have the time to play with it anyway. And if I do get time, there's a VM image of it you can download and play with (which I got and still haven't looked at ;) ).


May 10, 2012
"Joseph Rushton Wakeling" <joseph.wakeling@webdrake.net> wrote in message news:mailman.500.1336605832.24740.digitalmars-d@puremagic.com...
> On 10/05/12 01:14, H. S. Teoh wrote:
>
>> So are you proposing that we rewrite the dmd backend with fresh code that's not encumbered by the current license?
>
> I think there are a number of possible solutions, including not just a rewrite but also just blessing either GDC or LDC as the reference implementation once their D2 support has reached maturity/parallel with DMD.  I'd favour LDC, to avoid the negative associations some people have with the GNU project.

LDC would need to get their Windows support into a usable state for that to happen. Last I checked (admittedly awhile ago), there didn't seem to be any movement in that direction.


May 10, 2012
On 10/05/12 03:14, Jonathan M Davis wrote:
> If nothing else, because Walter would be unable to work on it. He avoids
> looking at the source for any other compilers, because doing so could cause
> him legal issues when working on dmd/dmc's backend, which he does
> professionally. And given that Walter has worked on the backend for over 20
> years, I can't imagine that he's going to be all that excited at the prospect
> of throwing it away in favor of another one.

Is that an issue for LLVM, which is BSD-licensed?  I will understand if the answer is, "I don't care, I don't even want to risk it."

> Once the front-end has stabilized (and it's getting there), it should become a
> non-issue, because then even if gdc and ldc are a version or two behind, it
> won't affect anywhere near as much (it will also likely become easier at that
> point for the gdc and ldc devs to keep them up-to-date).

Yes, I agree.  That's why I suggested as an alternative trying to synchronize releases of DMD, GDC and LDC so that they are always feature-equivalent, and endorsing all 3 as official implementations of the reference standard.
May 10, 2012
Le 10/05/2012 06:35, Nick Sabalausky a écrit :
> "Joseph Rushton Wakeling"<joseph.wakeling@webdrake.net>  wrote in message
> news:mailman.476.1336601495.24740.digitalmars-d@puremagic.com...
>> On 09/05/12 23:38, Nick Sabalausky wrote:
>>> Especially if/when we finally get good support for ARM-based phones
>>> and tablets (back in my day, we called them PDAs), as that would be
>>> completely non-DMD.
>>
>> Yea, ARM support seems important to me too, both for phones, tablets etc.
>> and for much of the new upcoming server solutions.
>
> Really? ARM servers? This is the first I've heard of it. (Intel must be
> crapping themselves.)
>

ARM is more energy efficient than x86 . This is a more and more serious alternative for datacenters.
May 10, 2012
On 2012-05-10 06:09, Era Scarecrow wrote:

> I'd prefer to see LLVM used as the back end; mostly based on emerging
> technologies and it's likely a bit cleaner than GNU.

So do I.

> Anyways. If the community wants to buy the rights so we can free it, I
> guess it's just a matter of collecting the money and finding out what
> their price is, and they have to weigh the cost vs current and future
> possible profits. How much would it cost to buy it from them? $100K? $25K?

It would be interesting to get a price from Symantec.

-- 
/Jacob Carlborg
May 10, 2012
On 2012-05-10 01:08, Joseph Rushton Wakeling wrote:

> I don't understand why the project couldn't (or wouldn't) simply bless
> GDC or LDC as the reference implementation. I do see why in the short
> term, as finalizing/stabilizing the front end, runtime and development
> library are much higher-priority goals, but in the longer term it seems
> like a viable possibility.
>
> It also seems beneficial to do so given that GDC and LDC offer much
> better possibilities for supporting architectures beyond x86/x86-64.

I'm not sure but I don't think Walter is allowed to work on other compilers.

-- 
/Jacob Carlborg
May 10, 2012
On 10/05/12 05:35, Jonathan M Davis wrote:
> Well, that's what FUD does. It creates Fear Uncertainty and Doubt without
> being backed by facts. It just creates damage. So, the situation itself
> shouldn't be a problem, but people keep bringing it up anyway, which _does_
> cause us problems.

If anything the present debate has confirmed, again, that the practical implications of the backend licence are negligible, that there are at least 2 valid and fully open-source alternative compilers, and that the core D community strongly supports those alternatives.  But you have to get _into_ the debate to appreciate that.

The problem is rather the note on Wikipedia which points out that the reference compiler backend is not open source.  That's a fact, and it's a fact which leads people to make damaging assumptions.  And there's not really a lot you can do about that while the fact remains as it is.

FWIW I think there have been positive sides to the proprietary backend.  I'm not sure we'd have had GDC or LDC if the backend had been open source, and GDC produces much more efficient code -- D is much more able to compete with C++ speed-wise as a result.

> Yeah, but I don't know how. As long as Semantec has the rights to it and won't
> change its license, we don't have much choice - not unless we want to replace
> the whole thing.

Assuming that LLVM is not an acceptable backend despite its permissive licence, and that the community can't buy out the code, I'd suggest again the idea of stabilizing the frontend and then synchronizing DMD, GDC and LDC updates, with all 3 endorsed as equally valid implementations of the reference standard.
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