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Re: IA-64 GCC deprecation?

On 6/16/19 01:14, Jim Wilson wrote:
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.

Don't worry, that was not meant as criticism of you or the gcc
maintainers - otherwise I wouldn't have expressed my thanks for your
work in the same email, wouldn't I? :-)

I just felt the need to express a different opinion on your earlier
"[...] an EOL processor doesn't have much value.".

It is important to keep in mind that software does not magically keep
working after being written.

It also doesn't magically stop working, there's always a reason behind
when it stops working. I.e. I can think of hardware defects, environment
changes or changes to its dependencies or even changes to the compiler.
So my general assumption is that a lot of issues for software -
especially on non-mainstream architectures - are artificially created

 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.

Please understand that I'm totally with you here.

We have to focus most our time and energy on the targets that have the
most users.

How do you measure that - I mean, that ia64 doesn't have that many users
is out of the question - but still, how do you determine that?

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.

Doesn't e.g. Debian have ia64 development machines available? Could
using these be an option for gcc maintainers perhaps?

Apart from that: ski was still good enough for debugging an issue on
ia64 in 2018 (see [1]).



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