Not having software isn't a show stopper. It just means you have a bit more work to do. So yeah maybe building gcc might have taken a few months, but it wouldn't have prevented anything, only delayed the inevitable.
This isn't rocket science, it's just programming. We don't invent things, we just build what needs building.
If people needed a compiler, they would have built one. Jquery was an optional addition that some like using. It hasn't enabled things that weren't possible before.
You may not be aware of this, but people were writing working computer programs for almost 20 years before they invented compilers. People still occasionally write working computer programs today without compilers.
And I think jQuery is awesome.
> If people needed a compiler, they would have built one. Jquery was an optional addition that some like using. It hasn't enabled things that weren't possible before.
No software "enables" things that weren't possible before; obviously if it hadn't been possible to do the things that the software "enabled", it would have been impossible to write the software.
In particular, any software you can write with a compiler, you can write in machine code. It's just more work.
But some software gives you a lot of leverage. jQuery is a good example. A C compiler is another good example. The leverage provided by the two is roughly comparable.
Not having tools at hand is a major factor for not to pursue a project everywhere in the world. Not just in the open source world. I don't think Guido or Larry or Matz would have taken trouble to write a compiler to write Python or Perl or Ruby.
Not to mention nearly all major open source projects and many other closed projects are using gcc one way or the other. I bet even Apple uses gcc in some way.
Work happens by incrementally building on others work. Even Linus agrees RMS is one of the giants on whose shoulders he has stood to look farther.
RMS might have some problems communicating in most socially accepted ways. But he has achieved and helped other achieve far more things valuable. And he has done it in time. A lot of people have built on top of his work. And a lot of that work has made a lot of money and provided employment.
Its wrong to compare Steve Jobs and Richard Matthew Stallman. They are great in their own rights. But in terms of absolute comparisons, RMS has achieved far more than Jobs.
iProducts are the cool must have gadgets of this era, they haven't changed the world any more than video games have.