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Re: Automated Reference Counting (Was: Disappointed by GNUstep)

From: Richard Frith-Macdonald
Subject: Re: Automated Reference Counting (Was: Disappointed by GNUstep)
Date: Tue, 8 Feb 2022 12:40:06 +0000

> On 8 Feb 2022, at 11:01, David Chisnall <> wrote:

>   I could write significantly simpler code that ran faster using 
> Objective-C++ and ARC than I could without either and GNUstep would not 
> accept the less-buggy and faster option.  Refactoring code to make it less 
> maintainable so that it could compile with an old compiler and spending time 
> finding bugs that are impossible by construction with ARC felt like a 
> complete waste of my time.

Well that could be a bit misleading: while GNUstep policy has not accepted 
breaking the portability of existing code it has never prohibited the addition 
of new non-portable features (though obviously portable is preferred).
GNUstep has always encouraged contributions, and new contributors often have 
specific areas of expertise allowing them to contribute valuable code, but lack 
the expertise to make that portable. 
This has mostly been a factor with the windows/unix divide, where we would 
welcome an implementation of a new class for one platform (and work on or hope 
to get a contribution of another implementation of the other later), but we 
have compiler-specific areas of code too.
There's a big difference between what is preferred (fully portable code for all 
features) and what is acceptable/unacceptable.   We are conservative about 
keeping existing code working on existing platforms, but very liberal about new 

So the issue about moving to clang here is about a process/timescale for 
potentially refactoring existing core code in ways which would depend on clang.

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