Retiring in-tree GDB

Julio Merino jmmv at
Wed Oct 21 11:37:25 UTC 2015

> On Oct 20, 2015, at 20:00, Mark Linimon <linimon at> wrote:
> I do not think we can ask "how many people need the base compiler".
> Well, if asked, answered: all of them, if we want to keep being
> FreeBSD.

And why would that be? What makes this FreeBSD?

Traditionally, a compiler has always been required because the only way to upgrade a BSD system was by recompiling it from source, and the only way to install extra software was by building it from ports.  Things have changed: it's now possible to have a fully-functional, up-to-date system, with packages without ever compiling anything.  Having a compiler in the base system is not a necessity any more (for amd64, at least).

No, I'm not in favor of removing the compiler from the base system; I think it has to stay for various other reasons.  I'm just questioning the axiom you threw above.

What I'll argue is that subjecting the user to ever have to recompile anything, for the majority of use cases, is bad.  And FreeBSD does not do this any longer: as mentioned above, it's now possible to have a functional system without compiling anything, so the compiler could now be optional.

Also, as a long-time NetBSD user, I was a bit surprised when I came to FreeBSD to find that the compiler tools were not optional.  In NetBSD, the compiler tools have always been part of a comp.tgz set separate from base.tgz.  Both are built from the source tree in unison, but when installing a new machine you can easily choose not to have comp.tgz.  I have run lean servers without compilers for a long time, and it was just fine.

I guess we are off-topic now...

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