[fpc-devel] Please include gmp.dll in Win32 distribution of FPC 2.6.2 and later

Nikolay Nikolov nickysn at users.sourceforge.net
Thu Dec 6 04:16:14 CET 2012

As an ex-competitive programmer and multiple IOI and BOI medalist, let 
me try to explain, although I realize it might be difficult for "normal" 
programmers to understand, but let's just say that:

- the people who setup the programming environment for these 
competitions are not the same people who compete in them. and the people 
who compete have no control over what programming tools are installed, 
because they don't have any kind of internet connection, nor are they 
allowed to install any packages, etc, during the competition. So it's 
all about making it easy for people who don't have a clue about pascal 
to setup a pascal environment easily so that the actual pascal 
programmers can use their language to the full extent without any 
disadvantages compared to the C++ (for example) programmers. In other 
words, the more these people need to take special care about setting 
about the pascal environment, i.e. installing extra dlls, etc, etc, the 
more likely it is that they'll:

1) hate the language
2) not bother installing the extra dlls and thus putting the Pascal 
programmers at a disadvantage
  and even
3) push for dropping any kind of pascal support, because it's an 
"outdated language".

Just to make it clear how these people usually think, I was part of the 
IOI2009 technical committee and I was responsible for setting up the 
pascal environment (fpc & lazarus under ubuntu) to work. In that year, 
Henadzi Karatkevitch from Belarus won the competition and I boasted 
about it on the fpc mailing list, because he wrote his solutions in 
pascal and his achievements are unique in the history of the IOI:


It even made it to the FPC front page. However, in that very same year 
something else happened that I didn't mention and that wasn't very nice 
news for the Pascal language at all. Pascal was *banned* from the 
Bulgarian National Olympiad in Informatics, which means that people who 
want to make it to the national team are required to write in C++ even 
though Pascal is officially supported in the actual International 
Olympiad. This is all because people here believe strongly that C++ and 
its STL give you a tremendous advantage in these competitions and Pascal 
(obviously) is a dead language and nobody should be taking it seriously 
and should be discouraged of writing any code in it. Yes, it's all 
driven by ignorance, but we must combat it.

I'm writing all of this because I've seen the writing on the wall and 
this has already happened in Bulgaria, so I'd be sad to see this happen 
in Russia too (which is btw one of the countries in the world with a 
significant number of Pascal programmers, including FPC contributors).

Having a library for arbitrary-precision arithmetic like gmp is a huge 
advantage in these competitions and making it easy to setup by people 
who are clueless idiots and know only how to press "next", "next", 
"next" so people who chose to compete and write their solutions in 
Pascal can use it is a must if we want to keep Pascal as a serious 
option for these competitions. And we want to keep Pascal as a serious 
option at least in the countries where it still is, because without 
that, Pascal would be dropped even as a teaching language and FPC 
contributors would eventually dry up and in the long run FPC cannot 
survive without contributors. It's great that we have old people 
contributing to FPC and keeping it alive (no offence about age to 
anybody, including me ;-) ), but we must also think about the future 
generations, otherwise we are doomed :)

So I'm all for adding a simple dll in the default windows install for 
political reasons, even though it might not seem to be the right thing 
to do to people who aren't involved in competitive programming.

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