Why GCC 4?

Alan McKinnon alan at linuxholdings.co.za
Tue Mar 14 21:51:01 UTC 2006


On Tuesday 14 March 2006 02:28, Julio Biason wrote:
> On 3/13/06, Matthew R. Dempsky <mrd at alkemio.org> wrote:
> > On Tue, Mar 14, 2006 at 12:47:33AM +0200, Alan McKinnon wrote:
> > > I've wondered about this for a while. How come Ubuntu is
> > > compiled with gcc 4? Is there a specific technical advantage to
> > > doing this?
> >
> > Is there a specific technical advantage not to?

Well that's what I am trying to establish. As a serious hard-core geek 
type, I'm usually willing to test drive new stuff. But upgrading two 
things gives me the heebie-jeebies: gcc and it's tool-chain, and 
glibc.

> Hm... 3.x has years of field evaluation and bug fixing? :)
>
> As far as I know, 4.x is more standards-compliant, which is a good
> thing. Several programs can't compile against 4.x, due some way
> optimizations are done now (where it seems is the greatest point of
> 4.x, although isn't fully explored yet).

I seem to recall (but can;t find the link right now) that one of the 
annoying things about gcc3.4 was the hassle of getting new language 
front ends into it. The architecture could have been better, and IIRC 
Objective C++ was especially tricky.

Good info on this is hard to come by it seems, but I did find
http://gcc.gnu.org/wiki/What will be in 4.0
and
http://gcc.gnu.org/wiki/Visibility

Also the C++ language specs are somewhat of a moving target, large and 
very complex.

So overall it seems that v4 is the natural progression of things and 
recent architectural changes to the compiler warrant a version bump 
to 4 instead of 3.5

-- 
Alan McKinnon
alan at linuxholdings dot co dot za
+27 82, double three seven, one nine three five




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