A recent bug report led to a discussion about potentially dropping support for pre-4.0 versions of GCC. Adrian Bunk noted, "currently we support 6 different stable gcc release series, and it might be the right time to consider dropping support for the older ones. Are there any architectures still requiring a gcc < 4.0 ?" Russell King noted that on some architectures GCC 3.x is still preferable to the newer 4.x branch, "I want to keep support for gcc 3.4.3 for ARM for the foreseeable future. From my point of view, gcc 4 compilers have been something of a development thing as far as the ARM architecture goes. Also, gcc 3.4.3 is faster and significantly less noisy than gcc 4."
When it was asked how many kernel developers use older version of GCC, Linus Torvalds explained that it really doesn't matter, "it's NOT about 'kernel developers'. It's about random people testing kernels. If we make it harder for people to test kernels, we're going to lose. So no, I vote for *not* cutting off old gcc versions unless it's absolutely fatal."
Dave Korn announced GCC 3.4.6:
"This release is a minor release, containing fixes for regressions relative to earlier releases, but no new features. It is the final release from the 3.4.x series and the branch is now closed. It is thus also the final release from GCC series 3 overall."
The question was recently raised on the lkml why such a wide range of GCC [forum] versions were being actively supported by the Linux kernel. One reason offered was, "because the new compilers are a lot slower", an argument that left some perplexed. "Why is this an issue when compiling a kernel? How often do you compile your kernel?"
Linux creator Linus Torvalds agreed that the speed of the compiler was indeed one of the reasons that older versions are still supported, "for some people that is literally where _most_ of the CPU cycles go". Beyond that, he pointed out that earlier versions of the GCC 3.x compiler would generate worse code than 2.95.x, and that they were simply buggier. Linus explained, "for a _long_ time, the only reason to upgrade gcc was literally C++ support: basic C support was getting _worse_ with new compilers in pretty much every regard." He went on to add, "things seem to have improved a bit lately. The gcc-3.x series was basically not worth it for plain C until 3.3 or so."
Mark Mitchell announced the availability of GCC 3.4.2, officially released on September 2'nd. Mark explains, "there are no new features in this release, but there are a lot of improvements for various languages and architectures." This second maintenance release follows GCC 3.4.1 [story] by two months, as seen on the official release timeline. A list of bug-fixes can be found here.
Mark Mitchell announced the availability of GCC 3.4.1, officially released on July 1'st. Mark explains, "there are no new features in this release, but there are a lot of improvements for various languages and architectures." This first maintenance release follows GCC 3.4.0 [story] by a little over two months, as seen on the official release timeline. A nearly-complete list of bug-fixes can be found here.
Mark Mitchell officially announced the release of GCC 3.4.0 saying, "this release contains a large number of new features relative to GCC 3.3.3 as well as over 900 fixes for defects in previous releases." Review the changelog, then download GCC 3.4.0 from a mirror. As for the future of the GNU Compiler Collection, Mark went on to note:
"The GCC 3.4.1 will follow in approximately two months. It will contain only fixes for regressions in GCC 3.4.0 release to previous releases of GCC. The next major release of GCC (whose version number is still undecided) will be released in late 2004 or early 2005."
"This release is primarily a bug-fix release and the most recent release in the GCC-3.3.x series. In addition to an impressive list of bugs that have been fixed, it also contains some minor features."
The changelog lists four new minor features, "suport for --with-sysroot, support for automatic detection of executable stacks, support for SSE3 instructions, and support for local thread storage debugging under GDB on S390". Download this new release from a GCC mirror site. Read on for the full announcement.
Jim Wilson repeated a much earlier announcement [story] that "in the GCC 3.4 release (still some time in the future), the GCC developers are obsoleting a number of old unmaintained targets. Obsoleting these old systems allows the development team to focus its limited resources to support those systems that are used by more people." He points out that in the 3.4 release these obsoleted targets will still be available if using the '
--enable-obsolete' compilation option, but that they will then be completely removed in a future release.
Read on for the complete list of architectures scheduled to become obsolete by GCC. If any of these targets are important to you, a contact address is provided in Jim's email. He also notes, "traditionally, GCC has been more receptive to requests that a particular target not be removed if a volunteer is available to maintain that target, so if you're interested in volunteering you should state that explicitly."
Mark Mitchell, the GCC Release Manager, announced today GCC 3.3.2, the newest bug-fix release. He says:
"I do not anticipate any further GCC 3.3.x releases; the next GCC release will be GCC 3.4, which will contain a number of new features such as pre-compiled headers, a new C++ parser, and improved optimizations. It's difficult to predict a release date for GCC 3.4, but my current
best guess is March 1st, 2004. It's possible that there will be a GCC 3.3.3, if the GCC 3.4 schedule
Mark Mitchell commented today on the gcc-announce mailing list that the recent GCC 3.3.1 release [story] includes a new file titled 'README.SCO', expressing outrage at SCO's recent legal actions against the Linux kernel. From the document:
"As all users of GCC will know, SCO has recently made claims concerning alleged copyright infringement by recent versions of the operating system kernel called Linux. SCO has made irresponsible public statements about this supposed copyright infringement without releasing any evidence of the infringement, and has demanded that users of Linux, the kernel most often used with the GNU system, pay for a license. This license is incompatible with the GPL, and in the opinion of the Free Software Foundation such a demand unquestionably violates the GNU General Public License under which the kernel is distributed."
The statement goes on to discuss the possibility of dropping GCC support for the SCO Unix platform in protests, noting however that at this time it would be more of an inconvenience to users than SCO itself, "but we cannot indefinitely continue to ignore the aggression against our community taken by a party that has long profited from the commercial distribution of our programs. We urge users of SCO Unix to make clear to SCO their disapproval of the company's aggression against the free software community." Read on for the full statement, written by Richard Stallman and Eben Moglen.
Mark Mitchell recently announced the release of GCC 3.3.1, including "a very large number of bug-fixes relative to GCC 3.3". The complete (and lengthy) list of bug-fixes can be found here. Mark goes on to add, "The next release of GCC will be GCC 3.3.2, which will be a bug-fix release." GCC is the GNU Compiler Collection.
Read on for the complete release announcement.
GCC 3.2.3 - the last in the 3.2 series - was released on April 25. It is a bugfix release, no new features in there. This one is a follow up to GCC 3.2.2 [story].
GCC 3.0.4, the last of the 3.0 series (the next release will be 3.1, around April 15) has been released. It's a "bugfix release" that (you guessed it) has many bugfixes. Read on for the full announcement.
New in 3.0.4: