[swift-evolution] A case for postponing ABI stability

Christopher Kornher ckornher at me.com
Fri Jan 27 20:09:59 CST 2017

> On Jan 27, 2017, at 3:08 PM, Freak Show via swift-evolution <swift-evolution at swift.org> wrote:
> Maybe so - but IBM solved this very problem along with release to release binary compatibility for C++ and a number of other languages twenty years ago with the System Object Model (SOM).

As one of the developers of the ill-fated WWDC OpenDoc demos that failed spectacularly because of bugs in early versions of SOM, I just want to caution everyone not to underestimate the complexity of these solutions and the level of effort required to bring them up to production quality.

That being said, it is probably too constraining to assume that one ABI should last more than a few years for a language like Swift that is destined for “world domination” and will eventually be used for platforms spanning from watches (and smaller) to data centers and solutions from scripting to real-time systems. This is a great time for language design — the most prolific period of language development I have ever seen. There is no reason to expect the pace of language innovation to slow down and new ideas will probably force Swift to stand still or break ABI compatibility if a system is not developed to support ABI migration.

> I'm not arguing for its adoption per se - but good ideas are always worth stealing and there was some solid engineering in there.
> Sent from the road
>> On Jan 27, 2017, at 09:19, Tino Heth via swift-evolution <swift-evolution at swift.org> wrote:
>> I wouldn't expect that I can mix language and framework versions freely.
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