On 23:24 Thu 17 Jul     , Adam Stylinski wrote:
> There are very few pitfalls, none of which I see as real killers.  
> These include:
> 1.) Closed source compiler: Yes this stands against what we believe, 
> and yes by closing their source they're protecting the trade secrets 
> of their architecture.  It also could be more difficult to debug, 
> although that's highly unlikely, they have the idb (intel debugger) 
> which works very much like gdb.

Doesn't really matter, although we could never move to it as the default 
without violating our social contract.

> 2.) Linking issues: So far it's pretty versatile, but it doesn't 
> always cooperate with gcc compiled apps.  It may be a good strategy to 
> make the troublesome apps which won't compile with ICC compile with 
> ICC.

Pretty sure you didn't mean ICC twice here, but sure.

> Pro's:
> 1.) Bloody fast machine code.  Intel obfuscates their architecture but 
> they give back to the community as much as possible to make their 
> hardware marketable toward the open source sysadmin, developer, etc 
> etc.  Their drivers are open and they develop for the kernel 
> constantly.  This cooperation leads me to believe that they would 
> assist a team of developers in making 100% icc compatible code.

OK. This involves upstream projects more than us, though.

> 2.) Bloody fast compilation time.  In my experience the compiler works 
> much faster even with heavy optimization.
> 3.) Takes full advantage of SSE enabled hardware.  SIMD instructions 
> are quite useful, code is extremely vectorized.

Sure, sure, speed is nice.

> 4.) will project gentoo toward the power user more, helps the gentoo 
> image, and overall will make linux a more professional operating 
> system (and a quite competitive alternative to something like a 
> SPARC+Solaris configuration).

I don't buy any parts of this argument, although the rest of your email 
is pretty good.

> This would also make cluster farms and science application more 
> respectful toward the gentoo community.  The academic and research 
> world already uses ICC to compile their apps for the sake of speed.  
> The interprocedural optimizations for both the fortran and c/c++ 
> compilers make it a must.

Yes, ICC is nice. And people can already use it easily within Gentoo for 
performance-critical apps.

> 5.) It's free, albeit a commercial product.  As gentoo is entirely 
> non-profit, there is no restriction when it comes to licensing.  The 
> binaries won't be sold for the intel-compiled livecd, and the compiler 
> itself with a fetch restriction allows the user to legally register 
> for their free non-commercial license.

OK, so we can't sell icc-compiled software in our Gentoo store, so the 
releases would always remain built with gcc.


Donnie Berkholz
Developer, Gentoo Linux
Blog: http://dberkholz.wordpress.com

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