Software is useless if computers can’t run it. The GNU Compiler Collection (GCC) is the unsung hero of the software world, transforming high level source code into low level object code while shielding the developer from hardware dependencies. With over 30 years of continual use and development, GCC offers a robust and stable foundation for building complete systems – from the kernel upwards. It is not surprising that GCC is still considered by LLVM.org to be “the de facto-standard open source compiler today.”
Who uses GCC?
As the default compiler for the Linux kernel source, GCC delivers trusted, stable performance and also builds system libraries and many of the applications in popular Linux distributions. GCC is also one of the most widely adopted core compilers by developers of embedded systems, with many GCC-based prebuilt toolchains enabling the software for the growing world of IoT devices. Application developers writing code for a variety of new and legacy computing environments depend on GCC since it delivers trusted performance along with support for the broadest range of hardware and operating environments.
And why do these folks depend on GCC? With decades of development by thousands of people GCC is one of the most respected compilers in the world. It functions as a cross compiler, creating executable code for a platform other than the one on which the compiler is running. GCC is also a core component of the tightly integrated GNU toolchain, produced by the GNU Project, that includes glibc, Binutils, and the GNU Debugger (GDB). GCC delivers improved diagnostics for compile time debugging, accurate and useful information for runtime debugging, and is a well supported platform with an active, committed community that supports the current and two previous releases.
If you are building software and not using GCC, you are missing out on the best possible solution. Check out the article “GCC: Optimizing Linux, the Internet, and Everything” to get a more comprehensive look at this amazing software tool.
Margaret Lewis is a technology consultant who previously served as Director of Software Planning at AMD and an Associate Director at the Maui High Performance Computing Center.