GCC Summit News

Right now I’m at the GCC Steering Committee Q&A panel at the summit.  There’s a new draft out of the GCC runtime license (used by libgcc, libgcj, etc).  The latest text allows for the development of GCC plugins — folks are already talking about review of the patch and how soon it can be merged (answer: after the license is finalized).

This is great stuff!

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  • Actually plugins are allowed under the current license. The new draft is an attempt to say that you get the exception to the GPL that allows you to use libgcc, libstdc++ etc with proprietary software as before, unless you’ve used non-GPL-compatible software to do transformations on gcc internal representations to produce the code.

    That is, if you use plugins, either the plugins have GPL-compatible licensing or, if not, the special exception doesn’t apply and you’d have to make the whole app free. This has been negotiated over a number of months to satisfy RMS’s concerns that plugins could result in proprietary optimization passes “freeloading” off of GCC.

    There are some problems with the current draft: if you read it, it will appear that there are additional restrictions that weren’t there before other than the plugin issue, but all sides recognize that this is a problem that will be cleaned up. So anyone who saw a draft and freaked out: don’t panic.

  • Looks like a very cute solution to the plugin problem!

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