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Re: IA-64 GCC deprecation?

On Sat, Jun 15, 2019 at 2:22 AM Frank Scheiner <frank.scheiner@web.de> wrote:
> Because as long as there's software for a specific hardware, that
> hardware **is** useful IMHO. Devaluation of hardware in my eyes does not
> come through so-called product obsolescence - hardware never has any
> practical value without software - but by "trashing" key software which
> originally was created with a lot of effort.

There is no proposal to "trash" any gcc release that contains IA-64
support.  There is only a proposal to drop it from future releases.

It is important to keep in mind that software does not magically keep
working after being written.  Someone has to maintain it.  That takes
time and energy.  It isn't fair to force that burden onto the GCC
global maintainers when there is no one that cares enough about IA-64
to maintain it themselves.  Maintenance is a significant long term
cost, and GCC does not have infinite time and people to do this work.
We have to focus most our time and energy on the targets that have the
most users.  And when there is a target with few users that falls into
disrepair and remains broken for a long time, we have to deprecate it.
Also, it is important to note that IA-64 has a higher than normal
maintenance burden, because there are so very many things it does that
are different from other targets.

If you want the port to survive, then someone who cares about it will
have to maintain it.  We have pdp11, vax, and m68k ports for instance
because each one has a volunteer that is keeping it alive, so that the
global maintainers don't have to fix it themselves.

Another issue here, if gcc maintainers can't get access to IA-64
hardware or simulators, how are they supposed to maintain the IA-64
gcc port?  Most of the lesser gcc targets have freely available
simulators that make it easy for anyone to test gcc without access to
hardware.  That is a serious problem for IA-64.  QEMU dropped the
IA-64 support Nov 2017.  I don't think that ski is maintained anymore
either.  IA-64 hardware is expensive, and soon won't be manufactured
anymore.  This is going to make continued maintenance even harder.


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