Move GDB to C++ ?

Robert Dewar
Mon Jul 14 16:03:00 GMT 2008

Vladimir Prus wrote:

>> a) some maintainers dislike for C++ that may reduce their contributions
> Are you sure no maintainer dislike C? 

I never indicated an opinion on this, let alone that I was sure,
indeed this is discussable.
>> c) the danger of unnecessary complex stuff creeping in if there is
>> insufficient control and code review.
> We already have unnecessary complex stuff, which is poorly documented in sources,
> and not documented in any lecture courses or books. Like, exceptions and cleanups.

Right, but I still think it's a danger that should be discussed
>> b) some maintainers who simply don't care to mess with another language
>> d) the transition costs are non-negligible
> You might want to note that the ongoing cost of using improper tools are not
> zero, either.

Well of course not everyone agrees with the "improper" here, but
for sure discussion of ongoing and long term advantages is

>> f) the danger that points a) through e) together might lead to a
>> divergence in the development path.
> This is strong statement. Do you have the evidence that such a divergence
> will happen among those folks who *actively* contribute things?

It's obviously a danger, if you think the danger is minimal, fine,
but it is important to make sure that there is a sufficient
consensus among all those involved to avoid this.

> I think that it's pretty much impossible to get accurate estimate of
> benefit/cost ratio, especially when benefit includes such abstract
> things as developer's productivity, and elimination of the current wards,
> especially wards for potential new contributors. 

Not sure what "wards" means here (warts?) but anyway, in the absence
of some kind of reasonable estimate of bvenefit/cost ratio, there is
a strong argument for the status quo I would think, so I think it is
necessary to try to make this estimate, accurate is too strong, but
reasonable is reasonable :-)
> I think that in this case, the most important argument is that GDB already
> uses most of the features C++ has to offer -- except in non-standard and
> undocumented way. Switch to C++ will make that better. The only price to
> pay is requiring C++ compiler -- and given that the GNU project makes GCC,
> I just don't see the issue.

Proper documentation is always a good thing, so to the extent that the
current issues are to do with undocumented stuff, I would fix them by
providinng the documentation before deciding that switching to another
language will magically fix the failure to document things well.

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