[kwlug-announce] Meeting Monday: Clang! (and LLVM)

Paul Nijjar paul_nijjar at yahoo.ca
Sat Sep 29 19:45:03 EDT 2012

So this month's KWLUG meeting is about compilers. Wait! Compilers are
exciting! It can easily be argued that without a free and open source
compiler we might not have much of a free and open source software
ecosystem at all -- free, high quality compilers lowered the barrier
to entry for program development, to the point where anybody with a
computer and an itch could write code and give it away. We all owe a
debt to gratitude to that most venerable of compiler collections, gcc. 

But gcc is not the only game in town. Over the past few years a
research project at the University of Illinois metastatized into LLVM,
a compiler project that used to stand for "Low Level Virtual Machine"
and now stands for "LLVM". This project (and its associated
C/C++/Objective-C frontend Clang) features a modular infrastructure,
interesting profiling tools, and informative debugging messages. LLVM
is released under a BSD-style free licence. It has been adopted by
commercial companies (most notably Apple), and largish free software
projects such as Debian and Fedora are experimenting with building
their archives using the LLVM toolchain. 

I don't know whether the rise of LLVM is a war on GCC, a friendly
competition, or just diversity in action. But Behan Webster knows the
answers to these and many other compiler-related questions.  Behan is
an embedded developer embedded deep in LLVM, and will share his heroic
(and harrowing?) tales of compilation bravery at this month's KWLUG meeting.

This month's FLOSS Fund nominee is another challenger to the
establishment: PostgreSQL, which has been keeping MySQL honest since
1995. If you would like to donate to this project, you may do so at
the meeting or by contacting me offlist. 

Maybe you hate low-level C-programming and compilers in general, but
for some reason you are still reading this announcement. Good for you!
If your predilections tend more towards dynamic languages, you might
be interested in the mini CodeRetreat the WatPy people are holding on
October 4. A CodeRetreat is an opportunity to learn (or polish) your
programming skills with a partner, in a friendly environment. The
retreat will start at 6:30pm in the Communitech hub, and you can
get more information and register at
http://watpy.ca/blog/post/coderetreat2012/ . 

Without any further abstract syntax, here is some location information
for you to parse: 

St John's Kitchen
97 Victoria Street North
(Corner of Weber and Victoria)

You can park cars in the Worth A Second Look parking lot and bicycles
along the side of the building.

- Paul

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