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Compaq

Compaq announces Beta test for Linux Alpha C compiler 166

Compaq has announced a public beta test for Linux Alpha C compiler (along with fortran). Press release (thanks to Linux PR) is available here, and here is the link for the software. It's good to see Compaq developing compilers and other applications for Linux. Keep up the good work, compaq!
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Compaq announces Beta test for Linux Alpha C compiler

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  • The questions wasn't "will people pay for this software?"

    It was more along the lines of "why does Compaq think this will sell hardware?" This is obviously a marketing move in order to get themselves inbed with the OSS crowd. It makes no sense to target the "I'll spend $500 on a compiler" crowd on linux. If we were into spending money on our software, we'd be running True64 anyhow because although I don't have any numbers to back this up I'm sure it runs oodles faster than Linux on an Alpha.

    The entire point of my comment was to point out that Intel is one of the few hardware vendors that has their heads on straight on how to make money from us (nVidia being another). The whole goal should be to sell chips (and motherboards, and complete systems, etc.) and not compilers. I'm no closer to buying a Alpha then an hour ago before I saw this story. On the other hand I've been foaming at the mouth for a Mercede since Intel is throwing support towards projects that are things I care about.

    This is not a story about the merits of their new compiler. It's a story about a half assed attempt by Compaq to rally support behind their chip.
  • You can't just "roll the optimizations" into GCC.
  • Let us just say that Compaq is a company. So Compaq bought Digital. It so happens that this is something that very much seems to be former Digital employees work. Second of all, the success of Compaq's work these days are hype. Wheather this hype is `let-us-create-yet-another-cool-thing-that-runs-on -linux' or if it is the latest and greatest tune of Intel hardware is not important. In order for Compaq to increase market share today, they have to obide by Linux. Yes, they made this compiler a reality, and such also with a RAID driver. So what? I agree with some previous comments. Why not integrate the code into GCC? Such as how SGI does with it's XFS in a sense. (Yes I know XFS is a filesystem and not a compiler, but it is GPL and will integrate with the Linux kernel)

    Yes this is pretty much critisism, and much of it is just plain and sheer paranoia, but still. Let us make Compaq understand that software for Linux is good. And it is even better if we get it in GPL. If this is a step in the direction of getting this compiler's optimization code into GCC and thus making it GPL, I WILL eat my words in public if so desired. But for now, some public synicism should be shown in order to bring it correct.

    I do expect to get a lot of comments on this and I will check back and read it all. Just please be at least a bit constructive when arguing with me. I like to learn of new views. GNU is all about sharing information. I shared my views with you, please share yours with me.

  • Optimization today requires that the compiler rerder instructions using internal knowledge of how the processor works, provide branch prediction information, instruction packing into compatible groups

    In other words, code scheduling. :)

    prefetch and invalidation support

    Does EGCS do prefetching? How's it done on the Alpha? On the MIPS it's simply a load to $0, I believe.

    code for recovery from speculative execution failure

    I'm not sure what you're getting at here. The 21264 is an O-O-O machine. For Merced this sort of thing is going to be critical. And I suppose if you want to use some profile information and optimize for that, this could come into play.

    I don't believe EGCS makes use of any profiling. That seems to be a big missing piece.

    Superscalar architecture have vastly changed the way that optimization works, and VLIW Merced promises to change it even more.

    This is true, but it is amazing how much of a difference the simple "classical" optimizations can make. Things like Common Subexpression Elimination, Loop Invariant Code Motion (both grouped under Partial Redundancy Elimination) and Induction Variable optimizations are important. EGCS only recently got a global CSE optimizer!

    --

  • Now this is interesting, and something I had not heard before. Do you have a pointer to a thread somewhere, or can you give a summary? What is lacking in the EGCS IR?

    --

  • The Intel compiler that you mention clearly says:

    The Intel® C/C++ Compiler, available as part of the VTune[tm] Performance Enhancement Environment CD, is designed for 32-bit Microsoft* Windows* applications. The compiler plugs into the Microsoft Visual Studio* and accepts Microsoft compiler options

    This has little to do with Linux compiler suppoer.

    Your right I full admit Intel's support is vaporware right now. Who knows what will actually turn out.

  • They look like standard 3.5 SCSI drives to me. The hot swap carriage is Compaq-only.
  • Now that Microsoft has decided to stop NT development on the Alpha platform (or at least they stopped trying to), Compaq seems to be much more interested in Linux for Alpha...

    I wish the same thing could happen to the Intel platform :)

  • Quick and ugly test using bytebench:

    ~$ cc -v
    Reading specs from /usr/lib/gcc-lib/alpha-linux/egcs-2.91.60/specs
    gcc version egcs-2.91.60 Debian 2.1 (egcs-1.1.1 release)
    TEST : Iterations/sec. : Old Index : New Index
    : : Pentium 90* : AMD K6/233*
    --------------------:------------------:-------- -----:------------
    NUMERIC SORT : 271.48 : 6.96 : 2.29
    STRING SORT : 24.804 : 11.08 : 1.72
    BITFIELD : 6.4238e+07 : 11.02 : 2.30
    FP EMULATION : 12.91 : 6.19 : 1.43
    FOURIER : 2134.8 : 2.43 : 1.36
    ASSIGNMENT : 2.4236 : 9.22 : 2.39
    IDEA : 587.56 : 8.99 : 2.67
    HUFFMAN : 241.78 : 6.70 : 2.14
    NEURAL NET : 3.3857 : 5.44 : 2.29
    LU DECOMPOSITION : 112.92 : 5.85 : 4.22
    ==========================ORIGINAL BYTEMARK RESULTS==========================
    INTEGER INDEX : 8.390
    FLOATING-POINT INDEX: 4.259
    Baseline (MSDOS*) : Pentium* 90, 256 KB L2-cache, Watcom* compiler 10.0
    ==============================LINUX DATA BELOW===============================
    C compiler : gcc version egcs-2.91.60 Debian 2.1 (egcs-1.1.1 release)
    libc : unknown version
    MEMORY INDEX : 2.114
    INTEGER INDEX : 2.079
    FLOATING-POINT INDEX: 2.362
    Baseline (LINUX) : AMD K6/233*, 512 KB L2-cache, gcc 2.7.2.3, libc-5.4.38

    ccc:

    TEST : Iterations/sec. : Old Index : New Index
    : : Pentium 90* : AMD K6/233*
    --------------------:------------------:-------- -----:------------
    NUMERIC SORT : 285.47 : 7.32 : 2.40
    STRING SORT : 26.566 : 11.87 : 1.84
    BITFIELD : 5.3653e+07 : 9.20 : 1.92
    FP EMULATION : 13.576 : 6.51 : 1.50
    FOURIER : 12000 : 13.65 : 7.67
    ASSIGNMENT : 2.3567 : 8.97 : 2.33
    IDEA : 482.21 : 7.38 : 2.19
    HUFFMAN : 342.29 : 9.49 : 3.03
    NEURAL NET : 7.1348 : 11.46 : 4.82
    LU DECOMPOSITION : 172.66 : 8.94 : 6.46
    ==========================ORIGINAL BYTEMARK RESULTS==========================
    INTEGER INDEX : 8.524
    FLOATING-POINT INDEX: 11.184
    Baseline (MSDOS*) : Pentium* 90, 256 KB L2-cache, Watcom* compiler 10.0
    ==============================LINUX DATA BELOW===============================
    C compiler : ccc (unknown version)
    libc : unknown version
    MEMORY INDEX : 2.018
    INTEGER INDEX : 2.213
    FLOATING-POINT INDEX: 6.203
    Baseline (LINUX) : AMD K6/233*, 512 KB L2-cache, gcc 2.7.2.3, libc-5.4.38

    There are +/- in all integers and strings but there is no definite winner there. There is a huge difference in floating point benches, but what do you expect. Compaq links versus cpml egcs links versus libm which is far from where it should be.

    Having a second thought let us see what compaq actually does. Hmmm, it looks like all math functions are redefined for Linux to use their "fast" low precision easily crashing equivalents. Lame...

    So now let us see what happens if we go like compaq and use gcc and the compaq math library and the same lame technique:

    TEST : Iterations/sec. : Old Index : New Index
    : : Pentium 90* : AMD K6/233*
    --------------------:------------------:-------- -----:------------
    NUMERIC SORT : 277.1 : 7.11 : 2.33
    STRING SORT : 25.041 : 11.19 : 1.73
    BITFIELD : 6.4264e+07 : 11.02 : 2.30
    FP EMULATION : 12.935 : 6.21 : 1.43
    FOURIER : 13231 : 15.05 : 8.45
    ASSIGNMENT : 2.4256 : 9.23 : 2.39
    IDEA : 587.65 : 8.99 : 2.67
    HUFFMAN : 243.2 : 6.74 : 2.15
    NEURAL NET : 4.3012 : 6.91 : 2.91
    LU DECOMPOSITION : 114.41 : 5.93 : 4.28
    ==========================ORIGINAL BYTEMARK RESULTS==========================
    INTEGER INDEX : 8.437
    FLOATING-POINT INDEX: 8.510
    Baseline (MSDOS*) : Pentium* 90, 256 KB L2-cache, Watcom* compiler 10.0
    ==============================LINUX DATA BELOW===============================
    C compiler : gcc version egcs-2.91.60 Debian 2.1 (egcs-1.1.1 release)
    libc : unknown version
    MEMORY INDEX : 2.121
    INTEGER INDEX : 2.094
    FLOATING-POINT INDEX: 4.720

    Suddenly whe are better then compaq on fourie... And our math is definitely looking better... Hi, hi, hi, hi...

    Overall Compaq math library better than libm, some other lib functions as well, but the secret there is most likely called ASM not Compaq-CC.

    Anyway, overall this release is good. At least for PR reasons.
  • They are talking about both. Fortran is in field test and has been for a while.
  • I agree with you that the question is "why does Compaq think this will sell hardware?", and in my opinion this is why:

    My point was that I think your assumption that "This is obviously a marketing move in order to get themselves inbed with the OSS crowd. It makes no sense to target the "I'll spend $500 on a compiler" crowd on linux" is wrong. I don't imagine the OSS crowd is even remotely interested in a commercial fortran compiler, or any commercial compiler for that matter, and that I think this move is ultimately intended to sell more Alpha boxes (as well as the compiler suite) to the people who now use Intel based PC's with linux and a commercial compiler suite for numbercrunching, and not to make 'the OSS crowd' love Compaq.
  • by Caudle ( 89673 ) on Thursday September 09, 1999 @09:23AM (#1692055)
    I didn't see any old stories about the Compaq Smart Array driver for the RAID controllers. The driver is found at: http://www.insync.net/~frantzc/cpqarray.html As a disclaimer, I design disk controller hardware for Compaq, but I haven't personally tried this driver yet. It is in the latest kernels, so a lot of people have access to it already. I don't know how many people are actually using it yet, though. The driver is open source, GPL, and was "blessed" for release by management, but is not officially supported by Compaq. The guy who wrote it and the guy who now maintains it are both employees of Compaq, and we are working on releasing an open version of the hardware spec so that others will have an easier time implementing improvements, or alternate driver implementations.
  • Remember that this is a BETA release. It would not suprise me if they put the Beta under a more restrictive license to control how far the nastiness gets spread. Compaq wants to see who is using this and how in order to (I would imagine)have a better chance on getting feedback. I woundn't hesitate to start (nicely) prodding them on their intent for the final release, but don't assume that this BETA release is indiciative of the final thing.
  • I agree. There's very little benefit to this compiler for most of us, I think, unless the optimizations it has are rolled into EGCS. Could a distribution be compiled with it? (Scary thought) The compiler isn't going to help anybody develop any Free software, and it's not going to help me, so why should I cheer?
  • it's still only available in the gnuprodev kit, and has the same optimizations as the intel compiler. But then Compaq's compiler beats intel's pants down on the FP benchmarks.
  • I said: I hope that the GCC/EGCS folks download this compiler, compile a bunch of test cases with both it and GCC/EGCS, and then find all the good bits in the final assembler and put those sort of optimizations into GCC/EGCS.

    jwb responds: I don't hope for anything of that sort. I believe that such an action would constitute reverse engineering of the Compaq compiler, and would therefore be against the explicit language of the license agreement.


    Then I would say, get a third party to download the compiler, agree to the license agreement, compile the test cases, and then send the object files over to the GCC/EGCS folks. Do you really think that just because Compaq happened to implement a certain optimization that nobody else should be permitted to? That's just not right. And don't you think that other commercial compiler authors are looking at their competition's optimizations?

    There's nothing immoral about reverse engineering.
  • by Per Abrahamsen ( 1397 ) on Thursday September 09, 1999 @09:38AM (#1692061) Homepage
    Sometimes bugs in the code are only triggered when turning on optimization. Since the DEC compiler does much more optimization, it is possible that it triggered some latent bugs in the code.
  • This is obviously a marketing move in order to get themselves inbed with the OSS crowd

    You don't get it. Not everyone uses an open source OS out of general principle. A lot of linux PC's are used as number crunchers in universities (with commercial compilers), because a free OS means you buy one cheap copy, that can be installed on all machines you have without restrictions, instead of buying a seperate expensive license for each machine with a lot of restrictions. This can save a fortune, and make a lot of things possible with a limited budget. By porting their commercial compiler suite to Alpha linux, Compaq obviously makes their low end Alpha boxes a more interesting option for this segment of the market.
  • by Jeffrey Baker ( 6191 ) on Thursday September 09, 1999 @09:43AM (#1692063)
    Sigh. Unfortunately this method would also be against the license agreement. Remember, the license specifically forbids using the beta compiler for anything besides evaluation and testing.

    I never said that the EGCS/GCC folks should not be able to include optimizations that are also included in the Compaq compiler. However they should develop these optimizations from their own effort or by Compaq's willing generosity, not by reverse engineering Compaq's compiler despite the license agreement.

    Last, I never said there was anything immoral about reverse engineering. I do believe that violating the license agreement is immoral. Consider the license agreement to be a promise. Compaq is offering us a compiler. They are saying "Here is this compiler. You may have it if you agree to not reverse engineer it." And when you download the compiler, you are saying "Yes Compaq, I promise to not reverse engineer the compiler." Then if you decide to reverse engineer the compiler anyway, you have broken your promise, which I do think is highly immoral.

    -jwb

  • My point is, it will cost you about $500 to get the Intel compiler, and you still can't use it in Linux. Compaq's compiler is now avaliable in Linux. So, in comparing compilers "made by hardware vendors," Compaq is showing how much it believes in Linux already, and Intel is still saying that "It's a Windows World, why bother."

    You can also look over Intel's site, and see how many products they sell that include Windows drivers, but not Linux drivers, and Intel doesn't (yet) have a site like Compaq's Linux Site [digital.com] or SGI's Linux Site [sgi.com].

    I am simply pointing out that Compaq is acknoledging Linux, and the comparison between Compaq and Intel doesn't automatically make Intel look like it's supporting Linux and Compaq doesn't really care.

    GCC/EGCS is acceptable on x86 hardware, it's doing "ok." But, Alpha/Linux is still not as powerful of a platform as Alpha/Tru64. I do hope GCC/EGCS narrows the margin at some point in the future. But bashing Compaq isn't going to help. Compaq may be in a position to help GCC by simply donating some hardware to developers. But if they get an "unfriendly" responce from the Linux community, it would be unlikely that they would want to help.

  • I used to work for Digital, and I met some of the compiler team once. They are very smart people, and their compilers are very efficient and standards compliant to a point.

    Sorry can't agree. The digital VAX C compiler is pretty bad. It has some bugs that are so blatant it should have never been released. (for exmaple it has an ugly habit of not ctacthing missing braces, and then generating bogus code. Ick.) I generally hesitate to use the word "garbage" in describing someone elses software, but that's what first comes to mind here. (Course I'm using an OLD version on OpenVMS 6.2, so that could be my problem I guess ... )

    Their ADA compiler rocks though, (very nice. a lot nicer than the ada we use for our cross compiler) so I guess I can't rip em to bad. :-)

    enough rambling. back to the salt mines.
    /dev
  • by florin ( 2243 ) on Thursday September 09, 1999 @08:28AM (#1692067)
    This might be a chance to get Linux some competitive SPEC scores. I was somewhat dismayed to see EGCS being beaten by up to 30% by Visual C and Intel's compiler.
  • I was a year ago and for a class project. It has long since been deleted. Otherwise, I would.
  • well its still sort of weird hearing that compaq, what seems like a major windows propietary hardware dealer, doing some work on linux. although its fine with me, the more support linux gets the better. i hope they start putting all linux friendly hardware in their machines too. that would be sort of nice. maybe they do now a days but my old compaq doesnt like linux too much.
    1. The compiler, as distributed, is Beta software, and the license reflects this. There is no mention as to whether the final product will be commercial, free to use, or open source. (I personally doubt the latter, though.)
    2. Although I work for Compaq (and formerly for Digital), I do not work for the GEM group and cannot speak with any official say on this, but it is my recollection that parts of the compiler are NOT written in C or assembler, so having the source code may not be a big help, actually.
    3. The reason that GEM gets such good numbers is that the people working on it are Alpha chip experts. They know what optimizations work exceptionally well on the architecture.
    4. In response to some comments made above, I would like to point out that Compaq (and Digital before that) has supported Linux for a long time, on Intel and Alpha chips. Compaq is not just now jumping on a bandwagon. Remember that Jon ("maddog") Hall, Executive Director of Linux International, was employed by Digital/Compaq up until recently, when LI was able to hire him directly. Compaq's commitment continues, as is evidenced by the release of the C compiler.
    5. Releasing GEM for Alpha Linux is a smart move in my (admittedly biased) opinion; it allows more applications that are built on Tru64 Unix to run on Alpha Linux. Up until now, only statically linked binaries could run, which precluded threaded applications, etc. One can only hope that some of the other applications now only available on Tru64 Unix will eventually be supported on Linux. And whether they are free or not, having applications available is a win for the whole community.
    Finally, please note that I am a Compaq employee, but in no way am I speaking for them in this comment.
    --
  • Good to see companies see that the only way to get linux in the mainstream is to get younger people hooked (ie College students, like myself), and that the only way to do that is to have college-like programs (compilers, CAD programs, etc...) ported to Linux. I'll cream my pants when they get AutoCAD ported. :)
    Bonz..
  • Just thought I'd comment on this... I think he was referring to the newer (i.e., since VAX) compilers. The older ones probably are pretty crusty, but then again, they were written for a crusty platform (OpenVMS).

    -- ioctl
  • Unless I missed it, I don't see anything about the source for this compiler being released. Has anyone d/l'd it and opened it up to find out if its in there?

    Show me the source code!

    /me kicks himself for that one

    -Ecc
  • I'm missing your point, you could have just as easily s/OS/compiler/g in that comment. If I'm not going to pay a few hundred for a OS, and the OS I get come packaged with a compiler that works (well enough...) I'm going to go get a $500 compiler? Not likely.

    His point was that in a setting where you have say 20 computers working on big projects, a person or organization could spend $500 on on one copy of the compiler, and distribute the generated executables accross all of the machines, as oppsed to buying 20 copies of the OS.
    another issue is that if speed is critical for you applications, but you are still on a low budget, a $500 dollar compiler may seem like a very good deal as far as price/performance, but a several tousand dollar OS probably will not, so it is not neccessarily true that someone who is willing to spend the money for extra speed will go buy their OS rather than just the compiler
  • I was under the impression that Compaq owned an entire Unix version. Is this not the case? For some reason I though Compaq made Alphas. If not where do Alpha's come from?

  • What's the license for this product? Is it proprietary commercial software? All I could find at the linked sites was information about the beta test -- what will be the terms and conditions for the released product when the beta concludes?
  • by Jeffrey Baker ( 6191 ) on Thursday September 09, 1999 @08:33AM (#1692078)
    15-30% improvement on integer code is nice, but the license is very corporate and not Free. Basically you can use the compiler for evaluation only and you cannot redistribute the compiler at all, for money or otherwise.

    Personally I will not be using or even evaluating this compiler on my Multia (and that thing need all the optimization it can get).

    -jwb

  • What advatages does this compiler offer? If this is the same compiler they sell for DEC UNIX (Tru64) throw it away. Last time I played with it I discovered a mess of bugs in its memory management. It tends not to align variables correctly. Things gcc do without ptoblems.
  • by betaray ( 1268 ) on Thursday September 09, 1999 @08:36AM (#1692082) Homepage
    Hrm, this seems good and all, but why make their own compiler?

    If all they did was create a compiler with Alpha specific optimizations then why not just throw those into gcc?

    Intel seems to still know what (OSS) nerds want. Their development on the Mercede compiler with Cygnus is still way ahead in the OSS game.
  • Compaq recently released the Compiler Writer's Guide to the Alpha 21264:

    http:/ /ftp.digital.com/pub/Digital/info/semiconductor/li terature/cmpwrgd.pdf [digital.com]

    The pa rent web page [digital.com] also has a bunch of data sheets, manuals and handbooks.

    Enjoy (and don't ask me about the space in the link above, I don't know how that happened).

  • I assume they are using GNU libc as the C library for their compiler. If you read /usr/include/libio.h you will discover the following text:

    /* Copyright (C) 1991,92,93,94,95,97,98,99 Free Software Foundation, Inc. This file is part of the GNU IO Library. Written by Per Bothner . This library is free software; you can redistribute it and/or modify it under the terms of the GNU General Public License as published by the Free Software Foundation; either version 2, or (at your option) any later version. [---standard GPL stuff snipped-----] As a special exception, if you link this library with files compiled with a GNU compiler to produce an executable, this does not cause the resulting executable to be covered by the GNU General Public License. This exception does not however invalidate any other reasons why the executable file might be covered by the GNU General Public License. */

    What this means is that if you compile an app with the Compaq compiler, your app is instantly covered by the GPL!!! You can compile non GPLed code with a GNU compiler and use glibc, but you can't compile non-GPLed code with glibc and a non-GNU compiler (such as Compaq's one).

    This is why GPL'd libraried are bad, bad, bad (despite RMSs opinions to the contrary).

  • Sigh. Unfortunately this method would also be against the license agreement. Remember, the license specifically forbids using the beta compiler for anything besides evaluation and testing.

    There's a difference between what they print and what's legally binding. It's probably time for a lawyer to weigh in here, but from what little I know I strongly suspect that sentence can't be legally binding. If it's not legally binding, it may as well not be there. So I wouldn't be breaking any promises by offering object code to folks who might use it in ways that don't exactly please almighty Compaq.

    Your high moral standards are admirable. But if that license wouldn't stand a strong legal breeze, I don't think your eternal soul is in any danger :)
  • But then Compaq's compiler beats intel's pants down on the FP benchmarks.

    Compaq's x86 compiler beats Intel's x86 compiler, or Compaq's Alpha compiler beats Intel's Alpha compiler?

    (If the answer is "Compaq's Alpha compiler beats Intel's x86 compiler", that should read as "an Alpha system with an XXX MHz 21X64 and a YYY memory subsystem, running code compiled with Compaq's compiler, beat an x86 system with an XXX Mhz Pentium/Pentium Pro/Pentium II/Xeon Warrior Princess and a YYY memory subsystem, running code compiled with Intel's compiler" - crediting that win solely to the compiler requires some evidence to justify it.)

  • We at times forget that companies like compaq are in business to MAXIMISE profit. One way this can be accomplish by companies of the size of compaq is to try to use as much as possible from one's internal resources (i.e. parts) as long as one can produce them at a competitive price.

    When Compaq bought Digital some time back it did so with several purposes. Ignoring all the patents, research teams and support infrastructure and concentrating in manufacturing there are a few things worth noting.
    By having it's own architecture Compaq can have more control on what it can do. Also the Alpha's have been known to have a good architecture. In particular Compaq had little in terms of the Unix market which traditionally has always carried greater margins than PCs.

    Digital also had it's own Unix which compaq can borrow code from.

    By offering more support to Linux Compaq is simply trying to position itself as a premiere hardware vendor for the platform. It could also be said that perhaps they have a good understanding of the invaluable asset which is mindshare.
  • Compaq bought Digital in January 1998 - closer to a couple of years ago than a few months. You must be getting old.

  • Actually, all the part you quoted says is that linking the library with files compiled by a GNU compiler does NOT cause an executable to fall under the GPL. It doesn't even mention what happens if you link with output from a non-GNU compiler.

    What you've said may be true (I'm definitely no expert on the GPL, and haven't got time to research the validity of your claim right now), but it's definitely not what the language you posted states.
  • Compaq makes a big part of their income, if not most, from selling hardware. Software is mostly a means to an end for them. In this regard they try to use software to try help sales of their equipment.

    My feeling is that they are probably testing the waters and see how to best use this technology to their advantage. Unless someone shows them how they will sell more computers by making this open source I think it is unlikely they will change the licensing.

    It is also very possible that Linux companies (i.e. Red Hat, Caldera..) will eventually approach Compaq and try to license the technology.
  • If the compiler results in a 30%+ preformance boost in the binaries, and 30% faster hardware would cost $2,000 more, you can bet your pants that people will be ready to pay $500 for a commercial compiler.
    But Compaq is missing the point. Why does a hardware company write software? The answer: to sell more hardware.

    A better free compiler would help Compaq sell more Alphas (since benchmarks done by 3rd parties would show Alphas as being even faster compared to Intel processors). Intel seems to understand this. Compaq better learn it soon before the Alpha dies.

    99 little bugs in the code, 99 bugs in the code,
    fix one bug, compile it again...

  • by bmetzler ( 12546 ) <bmetzler@li[ ]com ['ve.' in gap]> on Thursday September 09, 1999 @10:24AM (#1692092) Homepage Journal
    I was under the impression that Compaq owned an entire Unix version. Is this not the case? For some reason I though Compaq made Alphas. If not where do Alpha's come from?

    True enough. Don't forget that Compaq really has 3 markets. The x86 desktop market, the x86 server market, and the Alpha Server/Workstation Market.

    In the case of Alpha, which this story reports on, Compaq owns Tru64 Unix, which runs on Alpha. It is their commercial Unix aimed at the high-end. At the low end they are starting to seriously support Linux. Primarily in this case by releasing their compiler for Alpha Linux.

    Anyways, Compaq has started doing some serious support of Linux, other noteworthy stories include localizing Linux for Asian markets. Also, they've started slowing killing off NT on Alpha.

    =Brent
    --
  • I kind of wonder about compaq. Especially regarding their...ahem...lack of ties to microsoft. Of course my view is clouded due to my current fight with them regarding my win98 refund. That and all the buttons that don't do anything on my laptop.

    (Yeah it's off topic, yeah win98 refunds are old news, but only now am I dealing with compaq and am able to fight for my refund ("I'm sorry the OEM EULA doesn't apply to pre-installed windows"))
  • I use Linux Seemlessly, for all of my school work, as well, as for Web surfing, and other such things. And I never needed to touch, /etc/ld.so.conf or /usr/local/lib ect. The key is, to make Gnome/KDE/other a standard part of the distro. And then all a user needs to know is how to login, and how to type, "startx"
  • I don't see your point... Even if the optimizations were "rolled into GCC", you would still have to recompile all the applications if you wanted them to take advantage of those optimizations. Installing a new version of GCC wouldn't automagically improve programs that were already compiled...
  • Exactly. You can get away with lots memory bugs with certain optimizations on/off. Sometimes you can access memory that is not yours with out a crash occuring. When I ported MS VC stuff from Intel to Alpha, some bugs were shaken out.
  • the software is only available in rpm format, and has primarily been tested under...

    Why is that? I must agree that using rpm and deb is great for managing packages which are a PART of a distribution. But I see no point at all in making third party software rpm.. I prefer getting third party softare in distribution independent format(targz or whatever) and installing it in /opt/local (sort of like netscape installer).
  • They never said it was Open Source.
    I don't mind honest non-Open-Source nearly as much as I mind says-it's-open-source-but-isn't-really.

    Excellent point to remember! By releasing a Linux compiler for the Alpha platform they are "pushing" Linux. That's what's important. Linux is promoted by software, not Open Source.

    Open source is important. But not to get people using Linux as a viable platform, at least not always. Open source has it's place. But Compaq has chosen to make a proprietory compiler. This is good for Compaq and good for Linux. Open Source will find it's place other other software.

    There are 2 things I like. One is Open Source. The other is software for "alternative" platforms. They both benefit us, and both should be accepted

    -Brent
    --
  • I assume they are using GNU libc as the C library for their compiler.


    I don't think so.
  • Also a common cause I found is the difference of
    the malloc().. On some systems overrunning an
    allocated chunk just works, on other crashes with
    rather cryptic messages, and in some very
    different part of the code.. Using a good debugging version of malloc helps.
    I soleved all (most) of my trouble switching to C++ STL for development.. Will not get back to "C"...
  • Sure enough, there's nothing in there about what happens if you link with something from a non-GNU compiler. In that case, it looks like the resulting program would fall under the standard GPL, which says:

    "This General Public License does not permit incorporating your program into proprietary programs."

    Pretty clear, so I think it's safe to assume that Compaq will *not* be using GNU's library for its compiler.

  • The entire point of my comment was to point out that Intel is one of the few hardware vendors that has their heads on straight on how to make money from us (nVidia being another). The whole goal should be to sell chips (and motherboards, and complete systems, etc.) and not compilers.

    Take a look at Intel's Compiler. [intel.com]. If "Intel is throwing support towards projects that are things I care about" where does this fit in?

    Also, take a look at some SPEC results for Intel Hardware [spec.org] and notice that most of the results (even Intel's newest entry [spec.org] are with Intel's compiler. If your really interested, look around on the SPEC [spec.org] site. Even AMD reports results using Intel's compiler [spec.org].

    Maybe you should look at Apple, at least they use GCC as thier compiler.

  • A better free compiler would help Compaq sell more Alphas (since benchmarks done by 3rd parties would show Alphas as being even faster compared to Intel processors). Intel seems to understand this. Compaq better learn it soon before the Alpha dies.

    Wait...

    I think Compaq is a step ahead of Intel in the Linux compiler area.... I don't understand why you would want to bash them for it, and say Intel is so great because they support GCC vaporware for Merced vaporware on paper.

  • by bmetzler ( 12546 ) <bmetzler@li[ ]com ['ve.' in gap]> on Thursday September 09, 1999 @11:32AM (#1692118) Homepage Journal
    I agree. There's very little benefit to this compiler for most of us, I think, unless the optimizations it has are rolled into EGCS. Could a distribution be compiled with it? (Scary thought) The compiler isn't going to help anybody develop any Free software, and it's not going to help me, so why should I cheer?

    Then don't. There, does that make you feel better?

    I guess the important thing is to realize that all software doesn't need to always benefit everyone in the whole world. Compaq port this to benefit a certain clientele. That group of people, will, no doubt be benefited, and feel genuinely benefited. Everyone else will not be benefited, by something that wasn't intended to benefit them.

    Use gcc. And Smile! Because gcc benefits you. But it doesn't benefit everyone.

    -Brent
    --
  • Let's give this thing one more go:

    "As a special exception, if you link this library with files compiled with a GNU compiler to produce an executable, this does not cause the resulting executable to be covered by the GNU General Public License. This exception does not however invalidate any other reasons why the executable file might be covered by the GNU General Public License."

    What this is saying is that if you link against the library when you've compiled a program using a GNU compiler, then your program is not forced into the GPL. This is to make sure that proprietary software can be produced using a GNU compiler without having to rewrite the whole libc. (Though I can see RMS rubbing his hands thoughtfully already. =) It specifically states that this does not invalidate any other conditions that would make your program automatically GPL, INCLUDING usage of this library with a program compiled using a NON-GNU compiler. Therefore, you can not use this library with a proprietary compiler unless the produced code is GPL'd.

    If this turns out to be true, then Compaq will be forced to write their own libc; not only is that a Big Deal, it means that if you write a program with their compiler, you'd have to distribute their libc with it each time or link statically, and GNU's libc is included in every Linux distribution automatically. This makes it less and less advantageous to release such a compiler for Linux.

  • I assume they are using GNU libc as the C library for their compiler.

    I believe libio was written under the GPL (with the exception you mentioned) specifically so that authors of proprietary compilers (such as Compaq) would not be able to use their work without giving something back to the free software community. Thus, Compaq will have to rewrite libio for themselves. If Per is wasting his time on ./ instead of writing us some more free code, perhaps he would like to comment?

    I personally would have worded the exception "... with a GPL'ed compiler" in order to encourage Compaq to consider releasing their compiler under the GPL; the wording "GNU compiler" is ambiguous and implies (to me) only GCC/EGCS. For that matter, it seems as if Compaq could call their compiler a "GNU compiler" (without GPL'ing it) since the definition of this is fairly ambiguous.

    Anyway, this is not the forum for another GPL flame war. But I'm sure the author's intent in this case was not to try to trick people into GPL'ing their software, but rather to prevent proprietary compiler companies from "stealing" his work.

    JMC

  • by Anonymous Coward
    You will see .debs up there soon too.
  • Sigh. Unfortunately this method would also be against the license agreement. Remember, the license specifically forbids using the beta compiler for anything besides evaluation and testing.

    How is downloading it, compiling some stuff, seeing that it is faster than what GCC can do, and looking at the generated assembly against the license. This is testing (compiling you code, seeing how fast it runs) and evaluating (having a look at the generated assembly), exactly what the license allows.

    Saying you can't look at the assembly output of a compiler you're beta-testing is like saying, I dunno, like saying you can't look at a picture produced by a raytracer you're beta-testing!

  • I'm sure EGCS is considered derivative work of GCC, so the exception would have been applied to egcs too.

    The exception is granted to a generic software called 'Gnu compiler'. It certainly includes all derivative works. (If not, there would have been a specific version number in each C library as technically, each new version of the gnu c compiler is a derivative work)

    There's nevertheless a license problem in the Libc as I don't see what makes the FSF different from me regarding the GPL, and they explicitely forbid all modifications/additions of their license.

  • So when you want to talk about irresposibly microsoft, you talk about how MS dumped NT on alpha.

    Then when it's "let's make MS look dumber", say that compaq dumped MS.

    The truth is compaq dumped MS.
    And as for this...
    Microsoft had an Alpha port in mind when they were designing Win2K

    Well BIG DUH. Up until the latest public build 2114, there were both Alpha and Intel builds released and cycled.
    It's not very hard - just compile the same source. 99% of windows is application extensions (COM, Services etc).
    That's what the hardware abstraction layer was for.

  • If I understand it correctly, the license prohibits reverse engineering and disassembling of the software, i.e. of the compiler itself. Does this forbid to disassemble and to do reverse engineering on the *output* of the compiler, i.e. the assembler files and executables produced by the compiler ? I don't think so. If you see somebody doing well, you have a right to try to do as well without cheating.
  • According to the API press release, the market for 1-2 processor Alpha boxes was 95% Linux in the past few months. That's why they dropped NT. A much better reason than why there are hardly any Linux games.

    I like the compiler, it needed a little configuring, but I expected that. It works good on the things I've tried it on so far, giving a 16% speedup on a tight loop (which I would have expected GCC to be able to give).

    So what if it's not GPL, they are being nice and everyone of the ./'ers are treating them like shit. Get over yourselves. Someone just gave you an almost free gift. Say 'Thanks!' like I did.
  • What is a GNU compiler? Remember that "GNU" is the FSF's name for their operating system. So I could read a "GNU compiler" as "a compiler which produces code for the GNU platform", just like a "Windows compiler" is a compiler that produces code for the Windows platform. That would mean that Compaq's compiler is indeed a GNU compiler, since it produces code for GNU/Linux. Not saying that this is the interpretation the FSF intended, but just that the License text is ambiguous.
  • Yes. Just looking at a number of output samples of a program, doesn't look like reverse engineering to me. IMHO, to call it reverse engineering you have to try to figure out exactly how Compaq did to produce this output. It doesn't counts if the only thing you do is to try to invent methods to construct similar output yourself.
  • Are you talking about the ICI at http://www.eden.rutgers.edu ? Awesome network !!!
  • ...That the GEM optimizer is easily integrated into gcc. This is the biggest one. When that optimizer isn't written in C/C++, it makes it a tad harder to work with. Even ignoring bootstrapping, running on other platforms, etc.

    ...That Compaq/Digital has the ability to release it as source. Maybe there is some third party code as part of the optimizer that they do not have the ability to distribute.

    ... That the team working on this has the bandwidth to clean this up right away. They are understaffed and overworked as it is...

    Do I need to continue? Better start chowing down...

    Disclaimer: I'm a Compaq employee who (indirectly) works with GEM. But I do not speak for anyone but myself.
  • Unless Compaq is gonna shoot to make their own proprietary distribution, which might actually make sense for them. They could make a super-alpha-optimized beast with all Compaq license code and magically call it "AlphaLinux" or something and quietly phase out the Tru64 line.

    Hell, that might even make market sense, especially if there are any old license royalties with the OSF/Tru64 line.

  • IMHO, you've got the first part right (about using a GPL compiler with a LGPL lib not making the program GPLed). The second half is jumping out on a limb, or maybe off a cliff. If you dig a hole with a borrowed shovel, and the hole doesnt belong to the owner, then its rather ludicrous to believe that digging it with your own shovel would change this. this is the sort of logic i would expect out of congress...(U.S. reps for those state side challenged)
  • by hjw ( 802 ) on Thursday September 09, 1999 @07:24PM (#1692138) Homepage
    I used to work for Digital, and I met some of
    the compiler team once. They are very smart people, and their compilers are very efficient and standards compliant to a point.

    We have to think about why Compaq bought digital. One reason has to be for Digital's services section, which is one of the best in the world.

    Another one has to be for the sheer bulk of tech genius that Digital has. Digital's problem has never been lack of innovation, it was an inability to market these innovations. ( Anyone heard any news of the Itsy? ).

    Beleive me, I worked on a product 3 years ago, that still hasn't hit the shelves.

    Anyway, Compaq now has a lot of specialist expertise, and it's obviously putting it to good use. We have to respect this. They can't simply buy a multi-billion tech company and start to give away the technologies for free.

    Remember that the primary reason that slashdotters cclaim that companies should opensource their technologies is to help them innovate and stabalise. If this is unnecessary, then we don't really have another argument.

    I think it's a step in the right direction. We have the people who built the alpha releasing compilers for Linux/Alpha. Sorted.

    This is going to allow alot of alpha developers to move from Digital Unix to Linux :)

  • I'm not completely sure this will happen in regards to the compiler mentioned here, but in the past, if a proprietary program were released for Linux, and its use becomes popular, there ends up being a project to create an open source alternative to said program. erm, I think so anyways. Can't think of any specific examples (except maybe GPG, in a sense).

    As long as there's a way to get around patents and intellectual property problems, and there's popularity behind it, a program will usually, eventually, have an open source version.

    Please, correct me if i'm just being hopeful and wrong (which is usually the case)
  • Photoshop 3.0 -> gimp Code Warrior -> Code Crusader Neither really counts tho, since Photoshop isn't competition since that release is outdated and Code Warrior came to Linux after Code Crusader began. --- FreeBSD. It's more than an operating system, it's a lifestyle.
  • There's a difference between what they print and what's legally binding. It's probably time for a lawyer to weigh in here, but from what little I know I strongly suspect that sentence can't be legally binding. If it's not legally binding, it may as well not be there. So I wouldn't be breaking any promises by offering object code to folks who might use it in ways that don't exactly please almighty Compaq.

    So it may not be illegal to pass the object code on. That doesn't really change the morality of the situation. I believe Kant's categorical imperative (an action is moral only it can be an universal law) applies. Suppose you or someone else does that and these optimizations start popping up in egcs/gcc. Compaq is probably going to get pissed and may not be willing to help gcc/linux efforts in the future. Other companies may see this example and decide not to support the community in the future. Not a good thing.

    Personally I don't see how this is different from Microsoft's actions. In both cases someone is using shady/unethical, if legal, means to steal ideas from a company. I would prefer giving up that extra 5% speed boost in order to keep the moral high ground. Wouldn't you?

  • Sure, you can look at the assembly output, but then you can't use anything you gain from that viewing in another product. Doing so would leave you extremely legally vulnerable - you've been "tainted" by viewing their code.

    That's why reverse-engineering is done with a clear-room implementation. However, even that would be illegal with the license agreement. Documenting the specifics of the optimizations and passing them on to a coder is not part of "testing" a compiler.
  • You understand the situation correctly. I have discussed this issue with Richard Stallman and Ulrich Drepper (the C library maintainer). I believe that other non-"GNU" compilers are effected and that there may be other legal issues that stem from use of the term "executable." The effected code is in libio, which is also in libc4 and libc5. The last time I checked, Richard was leaving the decision to Ulrich, who was refusing to change the copying conditions.

    The good news is that the problem could be solved by replacing libio, which is less than 2% of the half million lines of code in glibc, with a clone covered by LGPL + the other exceptions in the libio copying conditions.

  • Due to the Linux kernel's buggy nature, almost nothing can compile it correctly. IIRC, you need GCC-2.9.5. The latest version of GCC (the merged former EGCS tree) won't compile it correctly. (This is a kernel bug, not a GCC/EGCS bug).
  • I wonder how much Compaq is still with Microsoft. Sure they still work together, but I think their relationship is strained. This started to happened when Compaq bought Digital and became REALLY large. Of course it does not help that Digital has quite a bit of software.

    But I think this attempt by Compaq is sincere. Why do I come to this conclusion? Simple which hardware vendor has been doing demos with Microsoft. It used to be Compaq. Not anymore. It is DELL.

  • A much more important issue would be how fast the resulting code is.
    What good is it to compile a couple of seconds faster when the binary is slower?


    --

  • Alpha Processor, Inc. is currently the one focused on this. See this URL: Alpha Processor, Inc. [alpha-processor.com]

    They had a booth at LinuxWorld in San Jose this year, and I had the occasion to watch the presentation. Apparently, they've decided to actually put some marketing behind Alpha to help promote its use. Samsung is the most prolific Alpha chip manufacturer right now afaik.

    Now if they would just fix the API website to no longer have .asp's and get rid of the mention of Microsoft being a partner...

  • KDevelop can be found here:
    http://www.kdevelop.org/

    Code Crusader here:
    http://www.cco.caltech.edu/~jafl/jcc/

    Any one have any other links for the IDE/GUI builders for GCC ?
  • by David Greene ( 463 ) on Thursday September 09, 1999 @08:38AM (#1692152)
    I assume this is the GEM compiler we're talking about.

    Just why is EGCS so much worse than GEM? Is it because of backend very machine-specific optimizations (code scheduling, for example), or is it simply because EGCS does not support all the (mostly) machine-independent optimizations that GEM does?

    The reason I ask is that getting EGCS up to speed with the same optimizations as GEM not only helps it on Alpha, it helps it on other platforms as well.

    To phrase the question another way: What is the biggest missing piece in EGCS? Analysis? Optimization? Better machine models?

    --

  • by Jeffrey Baker ( 6191 ) on Thursday September 09, 1999 @08:40AM (#1692154)
    Replying to myself, here are the offensive part sof the license at their web site [digital.com]

    2. GRANT:

    Compaq Computer Corporation ("Compaq") grants you the right to use the Software solely for testing and evaluation. The Software shall not be used for any other purpose and you agree to destroy or erase all copies of the Software upon Compaq's release of the code in final form.

    You may copy the Software into the local memory or storage device of any number of computers for your testing and evaluation. The number of computers must be identified in the upcoming screen. You may make archival or back-up copies of the Software.

    3. COPYRIGHT

    The Software is protected by copyright laws and international treaties. Your use of the Software and associated documentation is subject to the applicable copyright laws and the express rights and restrictions of these License Agreement.

    4. RESTRICTIONS

    You may not rent, lease, or otherwise transfer the Software. You may not make the Software available over the internet or similar networking technology. You may not remove any copyright, trademark, or other proprietary notices from the Software or the media. You may not reverse engineer, decompile, or disassemble the Software, except to the extent Compaq cannot prohibit such acts by law.

    -jwb

  • The advantage is that it produces much faster code. My experience with it has been extremely positive. But what would I know, I only ran a few million lines of source through it...
  • The claim is that the egcs intermediate representation isn't powerful enough to do lots of optimizations that are standard in the GEM compiler. I believe that the EGCS people are aware of this and are thinking about it.
  • This is another good example of the vagueness and lack of enforceability rampant in Linux licensing. EGCS, until its recent merger with GCC, was not a "GNU compiler," so it could not take advantage of the exception. However, nobody seemed to pay any attention to that. It's only now, that Compaq makes a compiler, that people care.

    However, Compaq has most likely written their own libraries, so the point is moot.
  • by BadlandZ ( 1725 ) on Thursday September 09, 1999 @03:25PM (#1692165) Journal
    EeeGad!

    It'll be a long rocky road for Linux if all of the Linux community had this "Open Source or F--- Off" attitude.

    I'm all for the development of open source software, but it's going to be a while before Postges or MySql is up to the speed of Oracle, before KWord is up to Microsoft Word, before Gnumeric is up to Microsoft Excel, before GCC is up to commercial compilers, before KDeveloper is up to Code Fusion, before GnoMoney is up to Quicken, before....

    There is a slow shift to open source software, that is clear. But it's not happening overnight, and there will be a place for commercial applications for quite a time to come. If all the "Microsoft Windows" software ran on Linux today, wouldn't you agree that Linux would probably have a more rapidly expanding user base? And, it the end, this would help the development of open source software?

    If you notice, GCC is managed now by Cygnus [cygnus.com], and without thier commercial products, they wouldn't have two nickels to rub together, much less host the GCC/EGCS web site, cvs site, ftp site, or the staff to help development of the compiler.

    Slashdot itself is running on a MySQL database, which, if you were not aware, is NOT open source, it's commercial (to an extent). So, your post has at least been rendered up by a commercial product.

    Really, I think the Linux community at large would be best served to get off of it's GPL evanglist soap box. Personally, I find no harsh things to say about the BSD licence, it's a valid licence, and I would rather see people use the BSD licence that "invent" a licence of thier own like Sun, AOL/Netscape, and Apple have done when they say they are supplying an "open source" product.


  • If you're using Fortran, you are, most likely, bashing numbers (My dissertation wasn't number crunching, but bashing them into submission :).

    This is also in a market where your are *planning* on spending $1k to $2k for your compiler & libraries.

    The question isn't, "which is fastest for my platform," but "which is fastest for my budget."

    The real question *is* "how does the fastest x86 compiler on the best x86 I can get my paws on compare the the fastest alpha compiler on the fastest alpha I can afford."

    Two and a half years ago, our answer to that was Absoft (Nag's compiler generates c, then uses the host c compiler). The difference at the time wasn't the hardware, but that we would have had to buy digital unix to run digital's fortran. Had this compiler been available then, we almost certainly would have gone alpha. (There would also have been political complications if we had been running DU outside of ISU's Vincent system, but my boss had tenure, so . . .)

    Anyway, folks don't generally buy the fortran compiler to run on hardware they already have; fortran is a major factor in determining which hardware. No, the answer may not be the same next week :) If we could have waited two weeks to order, we could have had dual 400's rather than dual 333's (which probably would have edged out the alpha). But the money would have expired, so we bought what we could.

    doc hawk

    epilogue: It turned out that we *really* could have used the 64 bits rather than 32--absoft uses pieces from cray, which bit addresses, meaning that 32 bit addressing limited arrays of derived types to .25gb, and I needed about .4 . . .)



  • Isn't ths already available in the documentation for the processor? I'd be stunned if digital hasn't disclosed the information to figure out how to keep the processor busy. The question isn't what order is best, but *how* to turn your source into a useful order, which would seem to be the compiler alone.

  • I'd expect that it is *very* simple. It was already possible to use it on DU to compile, and then run the executables on alpha Linux. From that, I'm going to take a swag that it's not written in Fortran, or it would have been trivial, rather than simple :)
  • Digital has been writing and selling top-flight Fortran compilers for a *long* time, for assorted platforms. They make substantial revenues from it, and it's not just a way to sell hardware (it didn't come with DU, you paid extra for it).

    A c compiler would be another story, it's (for all intents and purposes) part of unix that is necessary for a system. Fortran is necessary for certain uses of systems.

    Giving away the code now would be giving away *decades* of expertise. It might ultimately be worth their doing this. Otoh, it precludes a lot of their long term options.
  • by kevinank ( 87560 ) on Thursday September 09, 1999 @08:57AM (#1692186) Homepage

    To answer this question you'd have to understand how CPU architectures have changed in the last ten years. Optimization today requires that the compiler reorder instructions using internal knowledge of how the processor works, provide branch prediction information, instruction packing into compatible groups, prefetch and invalidation support, code for recovery from speculative execution failure, and indication to the CPU of what status register flags will be used in the future so that instruction scheduling can potentially be offloaded to a faster ALU if certain flags can be ignored.

    Superscalar architecture have vastly changed the way that optimization works, and VLIW Merced promises to change it even more.

    I don't write compilers myself, but I know that there is a lot of research being done in these areas, complete with just as many new patents on those algorithms as you would probably anticipate.

  • If your going to ask that, then you could ask why should any company make a C compiler for linux, or any other compiler than Linux already provides - why should borland release C++ Builder for linux, since there's a C compiler out already, and there is KDevelop and a couple GUI builders for GCC as well. The answer is surely simple: These compilers are not the most efficient - Borland's linux C++ compiler already out performs GCC. The sooner companies release their products for linux, the better chance of getting themselves established, unlike the late comers.

  • I would have sworn when I read the title yesterday that we were talking about Fortran. Never mind. I'll wait for the Fortran release to get excited :(
  • > They can't simply buy a multi-billion tech company and start to give away the technologies for free.

    In general I agree with your post. However, it might be in Compaq's best interest to "give away" a compiler that made Linux way hot on Alpha, since that might influence more Linux users to buy Alpha instead of some other brand.

    OTOH, it would be a matter of giving away something they had paid for, and it might even make Alpha/Linux users less likely to upgrade to Alpha/Tru64.

    In short, it's a business decision. No harm in us asking for it; they've just got to see where their best interests lie.
  • Which this isn't :)
  • Why didn't I notice this until I'd posted 3 comments?
  • by rve ( 4436 )
    Alpha's are superbly suitable for numbercrunching. When you are performing a series of calculations that takes say 100 days, and a comercial compiler can make your code 15% faster, you save two weeks! In that case the decision is easily made.
  • by Jeffrey Baker ( 6191 ) on Thursday September 09, 1999 @09:11AM (#1692205)
    I hope that the GCC/EGCS folks download this compiler, compile a bunch of test cases with both it and GCC/EGCS, and then find all the good bits in the final assembler and put those sort of optimizations into GCC/EGCS.

    I don't hope for anything of that sort. I believe that such an action would constitute reverse engineering of the Compaq compiler, and would therefore be against the explicit language of the license agreement.

    Compaq wrote it and they are entitled to whatever licensing terms they want. While I believe that Compaq should contribute their optimiations to the community, I don't believe they should be forced to and in the absence of Compaq's willingness I guess the GNU folks are just going to have to rely on their own formidable genius and cunning to come up with a better optimized compiler.

    -jwb

  • They never said it was Open Source.

    I don't mind honest non-Open-Source nearly as much as I mind says-it's-open-source-but-isn't-really.

    Bruce

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