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Happy Birthday GCC!

by Matt Lee Contributions Published on Mar 22, 2012 11:50 AM
Today the GCC development team celebrates the 25th anniversary of the GNU Compiler Collection.

GCC was first released in 1987, and was one of the first components identified by GNU Project founder Richard Stallman in his September 27th, 1983, message to the net.unix-wizards group on Usenet.

To begin with, GNU will be a kernel plus all the utilities needed to write and run C programs: editor, shell, C compiler, linker, assembler, and a few other things. After this we will add a text formatter, a YACC, an Empire game, a spreadsheet, and hundreds of other things. We hope to supply, eventually, everything useful that normally comes with a Unix system, and anything else useful, including on-line and hardcopy documentation.

Today we celebrate twenty-five years of GNU and the GNU Compiler Collection with an announcement by the GCC release managers:

When Richard Stallman announced the first public release of GCC in 1987, few could have imagined the broad impact that it has had. It has prototyped many language features that later were adopted as part of their respective standards -- everything from "long long" type to transactional memory. It deployed an architecture-neutral automatic vectorization facility, OpenMP, and Polyhedral loop nest optimization. It has provided the toolchain infrastructure for the GNU/Linux ecosystem used everywhere from Google and Facebook to financial markets and stock exchanges. We salute and thank the hundreds of developers who have contributed over the years to make GCC one of the most long-lasting and successful free software projects in the history of this industry.

As a special present we have prepared the release of GCC 4.7.0 which continues the series of free software high-quality industry-standard compilers.

GCC 4.7.0 is a major release, containing substantial new functionality not available in GCC 4.6.x or previous GCC releases.

GCC 4.7 features support for software transactional memory on selected architectures. The C++ compiler supports a bigger subset of the new ISO C++11 standard such as support for atomics and the C++11 memory model, non-static data member initializers, user-defined literals, alias-declarations, delegating constructors, explicit override and extended friend syntax. The C compiler adds support for more features from the new ISO C11 standard. GCC now supports version 3.1 of the OpenMP specification for C, C++ and Fortran.

The link-time optimization (LTO) framework has seen improvements with regards to scalability, stability and resource needs. Inlining and interprocedural constant propagation have been improved.

GCC 4.7 now supports various new GNU extensions to the DWARF debugging information format, like entry value and call site information, a typed DWARF stack and a more compact macro representation.

Extending the widest support for hardware architectures in the industry, GCC 4.7 gains support for Adapteva's Epiphany processor, National Semiconductor's CR16, and TI's C6X as well as Tilera's TILE-Gx and TILEPro families of processors. The x86 family support has been extended by the Intel Haswell and AMD Piledriver architectures. ARM has gained support for the Cortex-A7 family.

GCC 4.7 can be downloaded from ftp.gnu.org.

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