Firstly, I have no doubt that this could be interpreted to be just a continuation of an ongoing saga - and maybe the mailing list would have been a better place to post this - but since it is just to gauge interest and current perception, I chose to spare the formality.
At the moment, the Haiku project currently has the goal of reaching (ultimately) a BeOS-compatible R1, as a base for a new, partially-backwards-incompatible R2 release.
Whilst I can understand that goal, I see that there are those that feel that the shorter term goal of keeping binary compatiblity with BeOS (until R1) is acting as a large pair of hands holding back the future progress of this (originally clean-slate) OS.
Project elevator notwithstanding, has anyone given any thought to the idea of having two active branches? The developers that want their old BeOS apps to run can then focus on the R1-alpha branch, while those that want to drop legacy compatibility could at the same time focus on new development on R2-alpha, using a single compiler ABI (whether GCC5 or LLVM).
That way, since development resources are limited, R2-alpha would be free to advance as a branch in its own right, and those developers that really want to get R1 released (and keep their older software compatibility) can do so by putting the work in themselves to port code back from the R2-alpha branch as they see fit, making sure it works for GCC2.
At first, this approach would seem wasteful - since one could ask themselves why not just make the code compatible with R1 and R2 in the first place - but the point is, with a separate R2-alpha branch, it is no longer the primary goal of “Project R2” to maintain compatibility, freeing it to move ahead with its own goals.
It’s sort of a survival-of-the-fittest approach, sure. But it would free R2 from the shackles of R1’s historical compatibility requirements and allow those developers that really care about R1’s compatibility to choose to put their time into the R1-alpha branch as they see fit.
Has this been discussed before? Obviously there are positives and negatives to what I’ve just said - but do the positives outweigh the negatives?