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Plug-In Architecture On the Way For GCC

kdawson posted more than 5 years ago | from the extending-it dept.

GNU is Not Unix 342

VonGuard writes "This year marks the 25th anniversary of the GNU Operating System. A major part of that system has always been the GNU Compiler Collection. This year, some of the earliest bits of GCC also turn 25, and yet some of the collection's most interesting years of growth may still be ahead. The GCC team announced today that the long-standing discussion over how to allow plug-ins to be written for GCC has been settled. The FSF and the GCC team have decided to apply the GPL to plug-ins. That means all that's left is to build a framework for plug-ins; no small task to be sure. But building this framework should make it easier for people to contribute to the GCC project, and some universities are already working on building windows into the compilation process, with the intent of releasing plug-ins."

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342 comments

It's Linux, NOT GNU/Linux!! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26630499)

nuff said.. why do people still try to attach GNU/ to Linux? It makes no sense.

Re:It's Linux, NOT GNU/Linux!! (4, Funny)

isorox (205688) | more than 5 years ago | (#26630533)

why do people still try to attach GNU/ to Linux? It makes no sense.

Me? I run Gnu/KDE/Xorg/Gnome/vim/perl/rxvt/Fluxbox/Firefox/Java/Linux

Re:It's Linux, NOT GNU/Linux!! (1, Informative)

hobbit (5915) | more than 5 years ago | (#26630553)

Vim, eh? You spoiling for a fight? ;)

Re:It's Linux, NOT GNU/Linux!! (1)

orlanz (882574) | more than 5 years ago | (#26631407)

Emacs. There, I fixed the finger spasms for the both of you. ^_^

Re:It's Linux, NOT GNU/Linux!! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26630661)

lol, do not feed.

Re:It's Linux, NOT GNU/Linux!! (1, Interesting)

CannonballHead (842625) | more than 5 years ago | (#26630717)

I am aghast. Please use proper capitalization of "GNU." Your lack of respect for the roots of your operating system is disgusts me.

:P Seriously, I read the GNU website stuff (some of it) and ... ok, I get the point, but it's almost like they're on an ego trip, whining about how people are giving them proper credit, and wanting everyone to know how important they are. Frankly, I don't honestly care that much about Linus. And why not give credit to people who created Unix, since it's hard to write an OS that isn't influenced by current OS's?

Meh. If "Free Software" and "Open Source" and "GNU/Linux" means that sort of elite "you need to remember your roots and never use non-free software no matter how much it costs you or anyone else! Refuse to make money using any non-free software! And don't forget who we are!" attitude... well, even Microsoft doesn't seem that bad :) And I LIKE free software. And donations. And Magnatune. And dislike Apple. And iTunes... [continue list of Slashdot Qualifications]

Re:It's Linux, NOT GNU/Linux!! (4, Insightful)

shish (588640) | more than 5 years ago | (#26630801)

You can run a useful open source computer without xorg, you can run a useful computer without java, now that we have things like nexenta (ubuntu userland with opensolaris kernel) we can even go without linux -- but trying to run an open source based box without any of the software that gnu has touched is pretty hard~ (I think some of the BSDs do their own thing for the core, but most of the third-party software which gets installed on top has been touched by the hand of gnu somewhere along the lines)

Re:It's Linux, NOT GNU/Linux!! (4, Funny)

gnarlin (696263) | more than 5 years ago | (#26630995)

but most of the third-party software which gets installed on top has been touched by the hand of gnu somewhere along the lines

I delight in reminding your that gnus don't have hands, they have hoofs!

Re:It's Linux, NOT GNU/Linux!! (1)

TheRaven64 (641858) | more than 5 years ago | (#26631603)

It's a lot easier than it used to be. You can compile at least one of BSD kernel with PCC now, and I think two of them now build with LLVM/clang. The big remaining hurdle is GNU binutils. There was a FreeBSD libelf-based replacement underway, but it's largely stalled.

It's GNU/Linux if it's not uClinux (3, Interesting)

tepples (727027) | more than 5 years ago | (#26631807)

but trying to run an open source based box without any of the software that gnu has touched is pretty hard

I for one say "GNU/Linux" to distinguish an operating environment designed for a workstation or server from embedded Linux. It's possible to run a useful box, especially one handling embedded style workloads such as IP packet routing, with very little FSF-owned code. A "uClinux" environment might use uClibc or Newlib instead of glibc, uClibc++ instead of GNU libstdc++, and BusyBox instead of Bash and GNU Coreutils.

Re:It's Linux, NOT GNU/Linux!! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26630881)

Wow. You're ass must be sore.

Re:It's Linux, NOT GNU/Linux!! (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26630535)

Given that nobody mentioned Linux in either the summary or the article, one can only assume you're trolling.

Re:It's Linux, NOT GNU/Linux!! (4, Insightful)

samkass (174571) | more than 5 years ago | (#26630565)

The article claims that GNU has produced an operating system, and that GCC is somehow the cornerstone of that "operating system". I don't think the word means what GNU thinks it means. And Stallman's insistence on calling Linux "GNU/Linux" is part and parcel of that misconception.

Re:It's Linux, NOT GNU/Linux!! (3, Insightful)

hobbit (5915) | more than 5 years ago | (#26630687)

GNU has produced an operating system. It's nowhere near as advanced in functionality as Linux, but it exists, and GCC one of the largest parts of it.

It's true that Stallman is a self-important man who makes himself look arrogant by delineating that GNU tools are part of the operating system but not making the same claim for a whole slew of other important tools.

But however correct the OP's statement, I agree with the reply made to it that the fact it comes apropos of nothing indicates it's a troll.

Re:It's Linux, NOT GNU/Linux!! (1, Insightful)

samkass (174571) | more than 5 years ago | (#26630937)

But however correct the OP's statement, I agree with the reply made to it that the fact it comes apropos of nothing indicates it's a troll.

Only in as much as the original poster is a troll, then. The plugin system for GCC could have been discussed in a purely neutral manner if the article hadn't been submitted with the business about GCC being part of an operating system. GCC may be what compiled the operating system, or what developers use to develop for the operating system... but it's not part of an operating system. The fact that we're even discussing this implies the submitter's comments were trollish, IMHO.

If the article was supposed to be about the plugin system, maybe the submission should have led with that.

Re:It's Linux, NOT GNU/Linux!! (1, Interesting)

hobbit (5915) | more than 5 years ago | (#26631181)

There are two stories here:

1) 25th anniversary of GNU OS project
2) GCC plugin approach agreed

They coincide, and both relate to the FSF, so why shouldn't they be brought together in a single article?

Re:It's Linux, NOT GNU/Linux!! (1)

idontgno (624372) | more than 5 years ago | (#26631391)

In software engineering, it's called "coincidental cohesion" [wikipedia.org] . It's bad. Slapping things together because they seem related when, functionally, they are not is careless and potentially confusing.

Re:It's Linux, NOT GNU/Linux!! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26631597)

Around here, we discuss the same topic in multiple articles, not the other way round.

GNU Operating System (4, Funny)

DragonWriter (970822) | more than 5 years ago | (#26630963)

GNU has produced an operating system.

That depends on your definition of "has produced". GNU certainly is actively developing an operating system, but I would say that an OS project that has managed to go 25 years without a stable kernel release cannot fairly be said to "have produced" an operating system.

Re:GNU Operating System (1)

hobbit (5915) | more than 5 years ago | (#26631213)

To this, RMS would say that if it weren't for the GNU components, most other OSes wouldn't have been "produced" either...

Re:GNU Operating System (1)

DragonWriter (970822) | more than 5 years ago | (#26631311)

To this, RMS would say that if it weren't for the GNU components, most other OSes wouldn't have been "produced" either...

So? The issue isn't whether GNU has produced lots of useful free components that have been incorporated in various OS's. Its the claim that it "has produced an operating system".

Re:It's Linux, NOT GNU/Linux!! (1)

Enderandrew (866215) | more than 5 years ago | (#26631721)

Hurd was released in a working state?

I must have missed it.

Re:It's Linux, NOT GNU/Linux!! (3, Insightful)

MoellerPlesset2 (1419023) | more than 5 years ago | (#26631149)

I don't think the word means what GNU thinks it means.

Well, the meaning of the word 'operating system' is subective of course. But the goal of GNU since the start was always to produce a UNIX-like operating system. And the UNIX operating system was always a lot more than just a kernel, it included tools, a shell, a compiler, etc. From the UNIX perspective, the GNU definition of 'operating system' makes perfect sense. Now if you're coming from the microcomputer persective, where an "operating system" was nothing more than the kernel and possibly a shell, you'd obviously be more inclined to simply label the kernel as an operating system. On the other hand, back when DOS was created, it barely would've been considered an operating system by the folks using UNIX and VMS. Indeed, DOS would barely qualify as an operating system today, especially considering what modern BIOSes can do.

Re:It's Linux, NOT GNU/Linux!! (1)

TheRaven64 (641858) | more than 5 years ago | (#26631645)

The meaning of a UNIX operating system is well defined here [opengroup.org] .You will notice that it does not define anything about the kernel other than two device nodes. It does, however, specify a C compiler and a large number of C standard library functions. On a GNU/Linux system, these are provided by GNU libc, which calls into the Linux kernel for some functions, but can also support HURD and FreeBSD kernels.

Re:It's Linux, NOT GNU/Linux!! (1)

MoellerPlesset2 (1419023) | more than 5 years ago | (#26631763)

That's not a definition of a word, that's a standard. A standard which did not exist in 1983.

Re:It's Linux, NOT GNU/Linux!! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26630571)

Sure it does, considering GNU utils form the basis of the userland and Linux is just the kernel - hence GNU/Linux.

Re:It's Linux, NOT GNU/Linux!! (4, Funny)

Shakrai (717556) | more than 5 years ago | (#26630745)

nuff said.. why do people still try to attach GNU/ to Linux? It makes no sense.

Oh god. Can't we stick to something non-controversial like GWB's legacy, gun control, abortion or the Middle East? Nothing good will come of this....

Re:It's Linux, NOT GNU/Linux!! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26630849)

Why do idiots keep calling it Linux when there is no such operating system? There is Red Hat, SuSE, Debian, etc which are operating systems.

Re:It's Linux, NOT GNU/Linux!! (0, Offtopic)

CarpetShark (865376) | more than 5 years ago | (#26630915)

why do people still try to attach GNU/ to Linux?

The only logical reason to object to this is on grounds of practicality. If you think it makes no sense, you don't understand the issue.

Re:It's Linux, NOT GNU/Linux!! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26631167)

The only logical reason to object to this is on grounds of practicality. If you think it makes no sense, you don't understand the issue.

Point me to the clause in the GPL where it says if I or my software benefits from your software being used in conjunction with mine I have to prefix your name to the resulting project? I can't find one, so that means this is bullshit. The GPL guarantees certain things about code and also makes provisions for giving you recognition for your code in the source - it makes no such guarantees about your recognition in the name of the software. Stallman and the other FSF zealots can bitch and moan all they want about not getting the recognition they "deserve" but if they wanted it so bad they should've made it part and parcel of the licence, not expect everyone to bend to their will for the sake of their egos.

Re:It's Linux, NOT GNU/Linux!! (1)

CarpetShark (865376) | more than 5 years ago | (#26631333)

Point me to the clause in the GPL where it says if I or my software benefits from your software being used in conjunction with mine I have to prefix your name to the resulting project?

Point me to the planet on which that's relevant to the issue at hand.

We're talking about "GNU/Linux" vs. "Linux". "Linux", as defined by its creator, is an operating system kernel. By definition, using that name refers to an operating system kernel, not to ANY "project" including GNU.

GNU, on the other hand, is a project to create a Unix replacement. It would be a functional unix environment, except for the lack of a kernel. By definition, "GNU" refers to this, not a distro project, and not a kernel.

Put the two together, and you get a distro (albeit a minimal one). Therefore, the logical thing to do is combine the names. The only reason to disregard this logic (a reason which I think is perfectly valid, you should know) is that "Linux" is more pronounceable and user-friendly than "GNU/Linux".

Re:It's Linux, NOT GNU/Linux!! (1)

Enderandrew (866215) | more than 5 years ago | (#26631751)

Except, that we don't call it Grub/GNU/Xorg/KDE/Linux. We don't call it by everything we attach to make a minimal distro. We simply call it Linux, because for the people that use Linux, the kernel is the only completely consistent aspect. The GNU tools are probably the second most consistent aspect of any Linux usage, but Linux does not completely depend on using the GNU tools.

Re:It's Linux, NOT GNU/Linux!! (1)

CarpetShark (865376) | more than 5 years ago | (#26631897)

The kernel is far from completely consistent; it's patched and selectively built on almost every distro. If anything, libc, bash, and the gnu core utils and toolchain are the main consistencies.

But this is a silly thing to argue about, since we're obviously not going to agree. Let's agree to disagree :)

Re:It's Linux, NOT GNU/Linux!! (2, Interesting)

wild_quinine (998562) | more than 5 years ago | (#26631007)

why do people still try to attach GNU/ to Linux?

Ah, the great Gnu/Linux naming controversy [wikipedia.org] . It's a long page for a short issue, but if you really want to kill a tree, try printing the talk page, instead.

You know that there's zealotry involved when the argument for justification of a single sentence is longer than the entire article.

gnulix, bitches (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26631841)

You remember that?

Operating System? (-1, Troll)

GodWasAnAlien (206300) | more than 5 years ago | (#26630549)

you mean hurd?

Re:Operating System? (0, Offtopic)

Whiney Mac Fanboy (963289) | more than 5 years ago | (#26630627)

you mean hurd?

No, the hurd is the kernel, GNU is the (still incomplete) Operating System.

Re:Operating System? (3, Funny)

DragonWriter (970822) | more than 5 years ago | (#26631155)

No, the hurd is the kernel, GNU is the (still incomplete) Operating System.

More precisely:

No, the hurd is the (still incomplete) kernel, GNU is the (still incomplete) Operating System.

Re:Operating System? (1)

Arker (91948) | more than 5 years ago | (#26631549)

No. The HURD, like Linux, is a kernel. NOT an Operating System.

So why do I want plugins in my complier? (4, Interesting)

NobleSavage (582615) | more than 5 years ago | (#26630587)

Can someone explain what kind of plugins might be made? What extra functionality wold I want in a compiler?

Re:So why do I want plugins in my complier? (5, Funny)

Nimey (114278) | more than 5 years ago | (#26630615)

Spell check.

Re:So why do I want plugins in my complier? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26631257)

Hells yes! The number of times I've sat through a compile to be greeted by a typo on the first line of output!

How spell check could work in a C compiler (2, Informative)

tepples (727027) | more than 5 years ago | (#26631559)

Spell check for identifiers might actually be useful. When you get an "undefined symbol 'plyaer'" error, it'd be nice if GCC could search the symbols in scope for with the shortest Levenshtein distance [wikipedia.org] . The error message could look like this: "undefined symbol 'plyaer': did you mean 'player'?"

Re:So why do I want plugins in my complier? (5, Funny)

Hatta (162192) | more than 5 years ago | (#26630757)

So you can watch trippy visualizations while you compile.

Re:So why do I want plugins in my complier? (5, Informative)

Whiney Mac Fanboy (963289) | more than 5 years ago | (#26630773)

Go to the GCC Plugins Wiki [gnu.org] & search for "Potential use cases".

Re:So why do I want plugins in my complier? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26631279)

Sup dawg, we heard you like compiling, so we put a compiler in your compiler so you can compile while you compile!

Re:So why do I want plugins in my complier? (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26631619)

Can someone explain what kind of plugins might be made? What extra functionality wold I want in a compiler?

Static analysis [mozilla.org] .

Essential plugin (2, Insightful)

symbolset (646467) | more than 5 years ago | (#26631643)

DWIM [google.com]

Re:So why do I want plugins in my complier? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26631701)

Clippy.

I thought GCC (4, Funny)

n6kuy (172098) | more than 5 years ago | (#26630597)

... was a plugin for emacs.

Re:I thought GCC (4, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26630751)

... was a plugin for emacs.

Well, duh. Everything is a plugin for emacs.

Re:I thought GCC (2, Funny)

anonymous donor (1440447) | more than 5 years ago | (#26630991)

And Emacs is a plugin for what?

Re:I thought GCC (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26631023)

skynet

Re:I thought GCC (5, Funny)

Professional Slacker (761130) | more than 5 years ago | (#26631089)

Emacs, in fact it's Emacs all the way down.

Re:I thought GCC (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26631117)

It's Emacs all the way down...

Re:I thought GCC (3, Funny)

billius (1188143) | more than 5 years ago | (#26631151)

And Emacs is a plugin for what?

Woah, woah, let's not get into Metaphysics here ;-)

GPL to plugins? (4, Interesting)

jpmorgan (517966) | more than 5 years ago | (#26630637)

Does this mean they want to force all plugins to use the GPL? How is that possible? I was under the impression that the GPL is purely a distribution license. It comes into force when you distribute software licensed under it, and requires you to distribute (or make available) source code and other things.

If I write a plugin and do not distribute it with GCC, what legal basis do they have to force me to GPL it? Nothing I distribute is copyrighted by the FSF, and so how can their distribution license apply to my code? I'm confused.

Re:GPL to plugins? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26630711)

Does this mean they want to force all plugins to use the GPL? How is that possible? I was under the impression that the GPL is purely a distribution license. It comes into force when you distribute software licensed under it, and requires you to distribute (or make available) source code and other things.

If I write a plugin and do not distribute it with GCC, what legal basis do they have to force me to GPL it? Nothing I distribute is copyrighted by the FSF, and so how can their distribution license apply to my code? I'm confused.

None, they are not claiming that as far as I know. If you don't distribute, the GPL doesn't apply to you at all (except for GPLv3 + affero, which is why GPLv3 is not liked by many).

Re:GPL to plugins? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26630761)

I think the thrust of the exceptions is towards plugins that are sold or distributed. If you want to write code in-house, and keep it in-house, good luck to you; that's not what the GPL is concerned about. After all, if it's in-house software, you have (pretty much by definition) the freedoms that the GPL is concerned with: the freedom to modify the code as you see fit.

But as soon as you pass the code around outside the company, and let others use it, that's when the exception becomes important.

Of course, IANAL ...

Re:GPL to plugins? (1)

cheater512 (783349) | more than 5 years ago | (#26630765)

Its if you distribute it at all, not if its distributed with GCC.

There is a clause in the GPL about how other software can interact with it.
Plugins have to be GPL.

Re:GPL to plugins? (2, Informative)

QuantumG (50515) | more than 5 years ago | (#26630869)

Umm.. no. This is exactly why RMS is so against GCC having a plugin framework. IF (and only if) you don't distribute GPL code with the plugin THEN you are free to place your plugin under any license you like.

Reminds me of this incident [gnu.org] .

Re:GPL to plugins? (4, Interesting)

Bruce Perens (3872) | more than 5 years ago | (#26631693)

This is really bad advice. If your plugin is not distributed with the GPL software, it's still a derived work.

Re:GPL to plugins? (3, Informative)

QuantumG (50515) | more than 5 years ago | (#26631767)

No it's not Bruce. It's exactly what has been said by legal representatives of the FSF.. http://gcc.gnu.org/wiki/GCC_Plugins [gnu.org]

Re:GPL to plugins? (5, Informative)

Bruce Perens (3872) | more than 5 years ago | (#26631853)

I think you need to look at that more carefully. First, it's not a legal statement. It seems to be written by engineers and no counsel is identified. Also, FSF knows better than to make such a statement. Looking at the content of the page, they give the arguments a defendant could make, and the fact that plugins might make it easier to connect proprietary software to GCC, and that they could make the plugin a demarcation between programs if they wanted to. But nothing on the page settles the issue.

Bruce

Re:GPL to plugins? (1)

DragonWriter (970822) | more than 5 years ago | (#26631057)

There is a clause in the GPL about how other software can interact with it.

Of course, since you don't need any license to distribute software that isn't a distributive work under copyright law, even if it "interacts with" another piece of software, such a license term has dubious effect.

Re:GPL to plugins? (1)

Bruce Perens (3872) | more than 5 years ago | (#26631769)

That's "derived work" or "derivative work". If it's run-time linked to a GPL work, it's probably a derivative work anyway. The GPL doesn't concern itself with how two programs interact, you're just mistaken about that. It does say that an interactive user interface should be able to emit a statement about the license and where to get the source.

Re:GPL to plugins? (1)

FishWithAHammer (957772) | more than 5 years ago | (#26631839)

If it's run-time linked to a GPL work, it's probably a derivative work anyway.

As far as the plugin host is concerned, it's a data file that happens to run as code when run. The plugin just has to adhere to some specification (and I'm sure that somebody will reverse-engineer the spec, if it's not publicly available just as text). That doesn't make it a derivative work.

Re:GPL to plugins? (1)

AvitarX (172628) | more than 5 years ago | (#26630823)

I was thinking about this too.

I guess it amounts to:
1) they will not count any non-gpl plug-in as existing for their purposes
2) they can say that in their interpretation distributing a plug-in that is non-gpl is a violation of the gpl (this can influence behavior, but I would think that if they are totally separate than there is nothing FSF can do).

There are also some special clauses in the license for gcc, I guess those may be alterable somehow.

Re:GPL to plugins? (1)

CajunArson (465943) | more than 5 years ago | (#26630903)

You actually raise an excellent point because the GPL can only be enforced on redistribution of either the original work OR a derivative work based on the original GPL'd code. In this case, the FSF wants to say that the plugins are derivative works... but unless you actually include GPL'd code in your plugin, there is no way for them to force you to distribute the code as GPL. Now, the GCC developers may try to entice developers into making a derivative work by giving out a GPL'd "skeleton" plugin that has enough code to be considered a copyrightable work that you would then modify and have to distribute under the GPL. However, if you just read the specs for how the plugins interoperate with GCC and wrote the plugin on your own without actually copying GPL'd code... there would be no requirement to distribute just the plugin under the GPL.

There may be a simpler explanation too: The summary might be misinterpreting the FSF, and what is really going on is that all "official" plugins that will come with GCC in the future will have to be GPL'd to gain inclusion with the "official" GCC distribution. This is something that the FSF could exercise control over.

Re:GPL to plugins? (1)

gnud (934243) | more than 5 years ago | (#26631133)

The FSF could let the TIVO hole work _for_ them --
Require all plugins to link against a small (512 byte or so?) GPL'ed blob, and check for it at load time.

Re:GPL to plugins? (1)

Timothy Brownawell (627747) | more than 5 years ago | (#26631591)

The FSF could let the TIVO hole work _for_ them -- Require all plugins to link against a small (512 byte or so?) GPL'ed blob, and check for it at load time.

That has been tried before, and the courts said it doesn't work that way.

News article [cnet.com] that mentions an older case (while discussing one that was ongoing):

Pre-DMCA cases involving video game consoles concluded that it was legal to copy code for the purposes of interoperability, Litman said. In Sony v. Connectix, the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals concluded that it was legal for Connectix to copy the Sony PlayStation's BIOS for the purpose of interoperability.

The outcome of the case that article was about [wikipedia.org] :

With these principles in mind, the majority opinion held that the district court had erred in three ways. First, it had held that the Toner Loading Program was copyrightable simply because it "could be written in a number of different ways", without considering the practical realities. [18] Second, because of this mistaken standard, it had refused to consider whether or not the alternative Toner Loading Programs proposed by Lexmark were practical.[19] Third, it had concluded that the Toner Loading Program was not a "lock-out code", because it had not sufficiently considered how difficult it would be for SCC -- without Lexmark's knowledge of the code's structure and purpose -- to alter the code and still pass the printer's authentication mechanisms.[20]

Sega v. Accolade (1)

tepples (727027) | more than 5 years ago | (#26631669)

Require all plugins to link against a small (512 byte or so?) GPL'ed blob, and check for it at load time.

The wiki article [gnu.org] mentions this legal theory. Search for "A gcc-based scripting interpreter could by default check for a mandatory license statement". But other companies have tried this in the United States, and courts have rejected the originality (and therefore the copyright) of such magic cookies. Look up Sega v. Accolade (pre-DMCA) and Lexmark v. Static Control (post-DMCA).

Re:GPL to plugins? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26631697)

And then I could write a translater that gets packaged with my plug in which is Lgpl licensed or something and publically state that I will waive any claims to requireing GPL compatible code only to be used with it.

So there we would have code that I owned being distributed under the GPL in which I have stated that I will not enfore the GPL on which will interact with GCC and I am the only one who can enforce my copyright on my code. It's still out of their hands and it still defeats them. I could actually wrap my disclaimer around the GPLed code stating that by opening the GPLed code (GPL only applies if you distribute it) and accessing it for any reason, you acknowledge that I will never attempt to enfore my copyright on that specific piece of code.

I wonder how the GPL and the FSF would actually work/react with something like that?

Nothing More Than GNU/Panic Over LLVM/Clang (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26630975)

All the exciting complier action going on now is with LLVM and Clang. It's incredibly clean and modern code. It has an free and open non-viral license.

The GNU crowd sees it as a massive threat to the stranglehold GCC has over open source compilers. This is nothing but a desperation move by GCC to try to fend off the massive migration to LLVM that is going on. The GNU crowd has been acting in ways that would put Microsoft to shame in their efforts to keep their stranglehold on compliers. All the way from the way GCC is coded to anonymous trolling of everything they see as a threat to non-GPL complier tech.

LLVM is going to be the one of and perhaps the single most important thing in the history of compliers. The academic world, business world, hardware manufactures are migrating to LLVM.

Re:Nothing More Than GNU/Panic Over LLVM/Clang (1, Insightful)

QuantumG (50515) | more than 5 years ago | (#26631017)

hehe, sure they are.

Re:Nothing More Than GNU/Panic Over LLVM/Clang (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26631111)

LOL, what an idiot...

Re:Nothing More Than GNU/Panic Over LLVM/Clang (1)

chromatic (9471) | more than 5 years ago | (#26631247)

Apple is, anyway.

Re:Nothing More Than GNU/Panic Over LLVM/Clang (1)

Ant P. (974313) | more than 5 years ago | (#26631303)

And Linux, once they start using it as a core part of the OpenGL stack.

Re:Nothing More Than GNU/Panic Over LLVM/Clang (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26631883)

LLVM is a non-issue. History will run its course, Apple will get another proprietary product to sell (like Mac OS X), and BSD zealots will get another pile of unmaintained code which they maybe could get to compile, but not use for anything practical (like Darwin). I pity the guys who wasted their time contributing while not on Apple's paycheck, but those who don't learn from history are doomed to repeat it.

Re:GPL to plugins? (2, Informative)

MSG (12810) | more than 5 years ago | (#26631153)

Does this mean they want to force all plugins to use the GPL? How is that possible?

A plugin uses the host application's API. It is, therefore a derived work. In the case of the GPL, derived works must be distributed under compatible licenses.

Some applications allow plugins or modules under incompatible licenses, but in those cases, it is the applications' authors prerogative to grant exceptions for plugins.

Re:GPL to plugins? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26631513)

No, using an API doesn't make software a derived work. It's an interface specification - you are not deriving from any code.

Re:GPL to plugins? (1)

jpmorgan (517966) | more than 5 years ago | (#26631713)

How does using an API make your software a derived work? By that logic every program that runs on Windows is a derived work, since you're using Microsoft's API.

Does Microsoft get to dictate your license because your software runs on Windows?

Re:GPL to plugins? (1)

Timothy Brownawell (627747) | more than 5 years ago | (#26631797)

A plugin uses the host application's API. It is, therefore a derived work. In the case of the GPL, derived works must be distributed under compatible licenses.

It's only a "derivative work" of the application if it contains actual copyrightable stuff from the application. Things required purely for interoperability (like, say, function declarations or the data structures required by those functions) don't count.

Back when the IBM clone PCs [oldcomputers.net] came out, the clones had reverse-engineered and reimplemented BIOS code, very much derived from the original (copyrighted) BIOS. But it wasn't a "derivative work", because copyright covers the actual code itself, rather than what the code does.

Re:GPL to plugins? (1)

againjj (1132651) | more than 5 years ago | (#26631873)

Easy enough to get around that by having your "plugin" be a glue layer to a separately compiled binary with a command line interface, so your reason is useless. Besides, it has been suggested that rewriting a header file will get around copyright. See my post below [slashdot.org] for another analysis.

Re:GPL to plugins? (4, Interesting)

againjj (1132651) | more than 5 years ago | (#26631653)

More precisely, the exception states that if the end compiled product is built with non-GPL compatible plugins, then the end compiled product is subject to the licenses of the linked libraries using the exception. As at least some of those linked libraries are subject to the GPL (being part of GCC) then the end product will be subject to the GPL. If you want to propagate (distribute) the end compiled product, it needs to be a GPL-compatible program, which then means that any libraries linked with it need to be GPL-compatible too, which prevents proprietary libraries linked in. If you do not propagate the end compiled product, then no problem.

So, long story short, if you have a non-GPL plugin, then either (1) the plugin must be GPL-compatible, (2) the plugin can't affect the end compiled product, or (3) the compiled program must be GPL-compatible and not be linked with anything non-GPL-compatible (say, a proprietary plugin). Basically, they want to prevent plugin writers the ability to lock down a GPL program by requiring that it be compiled with the proprietary plugin. I think there is a loophole in (3), so I hope I did not misunderstand it.

Re:GPL to plugins? (1)

jpmorgan (517966) | more than 5 years ago | (#26631781)

Clever, so it's not the license of the GCC they're using to enforce this rule, but rather the license of the standard libraries.

Of course, one could always replace those GPL'd libraries with non-GPL'd ones, but that's starting to increase the amount of work required.

25 years of .... (3, Interesting)

fm6 (162816) | more than 5 years ago | (#26630791)

This year marks the 25th anniversary of the GNU Operating System.

No, this year marks the 25th year of work on the GNU OS. There is still no GNU OS as such, and it's pretty obvious there never will be.

I'm not saying that there's nothing to show for all that work. The GNU libraries and many GNU utilities are key components in many projects, not the least of which is Linux. (<Sarcasm> Oh, excuse me, GNU/Linux.</Sarcasm> ) These are real achievements, and so is the introduction of a new collaborative model of joint software development.

But the original goal of GNU, to create a free alternative to Unix, has never been achieved. No big loss, there are other free Unix alternatives and even true Unixes for free. I just wish that GNU and its fanboys would stop and ask themselves why they never achieved their primary goal.

Re:25 years of .... (4, Interesting)

Creepy Crawler (680178) | more than 5 years ago | (#26631063)

That's because it takes thousands of people to make an OS.

Look at Microsoft and their lines of OSes.. They have what, 50k people on staff at any one time with perhaps 2/3 of them doing programming work? Most of their code is already written from buy-oughts, so they now provide mostly maintenance and scripting. There's maybe 20-50 people doing *interesting* stuff at any one time, it being 10 years away.

Look at OSX now. They have a similar issue, but leveraged theirs away by choosing a FreeBSD-like platform which to design everything on top of. They also reduce features for their core GUI programs to reduce testing and errors. They also focus much more aesthetically, in direct comparison to Linux GUIS and Windows. And their equipment is much higher priced (can buy 2-3 laptops of the same quality of 1 mac laptop), considering they discourage Hackintoshes.

The Linux guys ad to design everything from the ground up, because of the choice in license. It was also a NiH kind of "I can do it better" kind of game, because Linux was new and exciting. But development still requires large resources. Linus happened to be the appropriate coder/manager to herd the cats at the bottom. Then everything else fell into place: some by luck and others by necessity.

FreeBSD: Its THE academic system, and it works well. It's a traditional fork from SYS I which they license it very openly. There's work done on it, but the "cool" work is Linux. The BSD's are perfect for stability, file sharing, and network code. It has a healthy set of adherents and users, but mostly is relegated to core network technologies.

Now, we look at HURD.. It's there, with a Debian/HURD system install possible. It's there's few device drivers, even fewer developers, doesnt work with basic equipment, buggy as hell (because few developers), and there's something that's "Just As Free", and works to boot (Linux). Would the FSF be better off on discontinuing the HURD? Probably, but it's their choice, and we dont know what its possible uses are yet either.. There's always a critical mass which things like these hit that make them explode, and they might be right about making their own kernel.

Re:25 years of .... (2, Insightful)

fm6 (162816) | more than 5 years ago | (#26631675)

Huh? You're saying GNU didn't have enough resources? Then how did Linux ever achieve critical mass? Which certainly doesn't have much more in the way of resources, given that their code bases overlap so much.

The difference between GNU and Linux is not resources. The difference is the people running the show. RMS is on a holy mission; Linus just wants to get the job done.

Re:25 years of .... (2, Insightful)

MichaelSmith (789609) | more than 5 years ago | (#26631729)

That's because it takes thousands of people to make an OS.

AST debunked that years ago [cs.vu.nl] . And now that minix is available under a free license there is nothing to stop the FSF calling it the GNU OS.

Re:25 years of .... (4, Insightful)

thermian (1267986) | more than 5 years ago | (#26631099)

This year marks the 25th anniversary of the GNU Operating System.

No, this year marks the 25th year of work on the GNU OS. There is still no GNU OS as such, and it's pretty obvious there never will be.

I'm not saying that there's nothing to show for all that work. The GNU libraries and many GNU utilities are key components in many projects, not the least of which is Linux. (<Sarcasm> Oh, excuse me, GNU/Linux.</Sarcasm> ) These are real achievements, and so is the introduction of a new collaborative model of joint software development.

But the original goal of GNU, to create a free alternative to Unix, has never been achieved. No big loss, there are other free Unix alternatives and even true Unixes for free. I just wish that GNU and its fanboys would stop and ask themselves why they never achieved their primary goal.

Having tried to get involved a few years back, I think I know why. While I don't deny the extree skill of some of the gnu programmers, GCC, Emacs and Gnuplot are ample evidence of this, they lack, or seemed to lack then, any form of cohesive organisation.

There was a distinct impression that if you didn't code in C, you weren't good enough, and that little use should be made of widely available, and equally free technology, because it wasn't 'hard core' enough, or so it seemed. There certainly was no logical reason for it. They spent, in my opinion, far too much time trying to write clever code, and not enough time trying to make things easily accessible for prospective new members. Since those new members would probably bring in new ideas and fresh impetus, I'd have thought this was a priority. Attracting some managers would have helped.

Their mailing list for Hurd showed their problem quite well. In spite of there being plenty of solutions available for spam filtering, they used nothing, which took me somewhat by surprise. This meant I ended up having to sift through literally hundreds of viagra and porn emails each week to try and follow something.

I asked someone else about it, and he had a script he ran himself to clear the spam. Very clever, very geeky, but very useless for those who think they shouldn't have to do that themselves to make such a mailing list usable.

I gave up after a couple of months, with a much better idea why we never got Hurd.

Re:25 years of .... (1)

Drishmung (458368) | more than 5 years ago | (#26631789)

Having tried to get involved a few years back, I think I know why. While I don't deny the extree skill of some of the gnu programmers, GCC, Emacs and Gnuplot are ample evidence of this, [snip]

Ah, gnuplot has nothing to do with GNU or the FSF. From the gnuplot FAQ [gnuplot.info]

Any reference to GNUplot is incorrect. The real name of the program is "gnuplot". You see people use "Gnuplot" quite a bit because many of us have an aversion to starting a sentence with a lower case letter, even in the case of proper nouns and titles. gnuplot is not related to the GNU project or the FSF in any but the most peripheral sense. Our software was designed completely independently and the name "gnuplot" was actually a compromise.

and

1.7 Does gnuplot have anything to do with the FSF and the GNU project?

Gnuplot is neither written nor maintained by the FSF. It is not covered by the General Public License, either. It used to be distributed by the FSF, however, due to licensing issues it is no longer.

Gnuplot is freeware in the sense that you don't have to pay for it. However it is not freeware in the sense that you would be allowed to distribute a modified version of your gnuplot freely. Please read and accept the Copyright file in your distribution.

Re:25 years of .... (3, Funny)

BumpyCarrot (775949) | more than 5 years ago | (#26631683)

NO NO NO! They do NOT need to ask themselves that! If they do, they'll form a committee to go about finding a way of answering the question. After years of deliberating, that committee will decide another committee is better suited, and send them off into the desert for 30 days and nights, to search for their spirit guide.

Upon their long-hair-bearded-and-sandalised return, they shall proclaim that the original committee was mistaken in their decision, and call for a review on the whole process.

Years down the line, the final decision will be made:

We never should've tried to create a Unix alternative in the first place. All work on GNU is meaningless and void. From this day forward, we shall concentrate all our efforts on the creation of a wholly new, original OS based around the same open source principles of the GNU.

It's name?

UNG is Not GNU (UNG).

Wow I never knew that it was an OS (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26630889)

I have used GCC and a few other GNU tools for years now and I never knew that it was an OS.
My bad. I must really get around to downloading and installing it sometime.

Arrogance (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26630997)

To quote the rationale document:

Developing nonfree software is not good for society, and we have no obligation to make it easier.

This is the kind of ideological arrogance that drives me up the wall with the FSF and GPL. There is this over riding presumption that they're right, and further more, anything contrary to their aims is "Bad for society". What childish bullshit.

  It's not even as if they soften it by making it a question of belief. They could just as easily say "We believe developing non-free software is not good for society". The absolutism in their position reminds me of religious fundamentalism. Which also bugs the shit out of me.

Re:Arrogance (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26631215)

Amen to that!

Re:Arrogance (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26631877)

Of course, this was posted anon to avoid reprisals from the faithful.

That means all that's left is to build a framework (3, Funny)

Lars T. (470328) | more than 5 years ago | (#26631031)

That is clearly the easy part, should only take a few years, much shorter than the decision at least. I'll bang my head against the wall while I wait.

Re:That means all that's left is to build a framew (5, Interesting)

TheRaven64 (641858) | more than 5 years ago | (#26631743)

Or just do what the rest of us are doing, and hack on LLVM. It's BSDL, so you can license your plugins however you want, and it's very modular so it's easy to reuse parts of it. Oh, and it's actively backed by Apple, Adobe, Sun, Cray, and a few others including a number of universities.

mod Down (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26631229)

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