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Re: gcc-2.8.x & Linux 2.2

[Cc-s left intact; please cut when appropriate.]
[For those not familiar with Debian development, I'm a member of
<egcs@packages.debian.org>, the group of Debian developers that maintains
the Debian compiler packages (gcc and EGCS).]

On Wed, Feb 17, 1999 at 23:41:59 -0800, Yotam Medini wrote:
> If coming Linux distribution are ready to use gcc-2.8.x and nothing
> earlier, then please ignore this post.

To the best of my knowledge, most up to date distributions (Debian, Red Hat,
Slackware, and presumably SuSE too) follow a dual track compiler-wise:
- For C: FSF gcc 2.7.2.x as it's the only version with which Linux 2.0.x 
  can be compiled safely.
- For C++, Fortran etc.: EGCS.

> I haven't been following the technical details, but I understand that
> there were (still are?) problems using gcc-2.8.1 (or higher) compiling the
> kernel.

These problems affect Linux 2.0.x kernels only (Florian La Roche has
collected patches for the known problems at

Linux 2.2.x (the latest stable kernel series) has no problems with gcc 2.8.1
or EGCS.

> The improvements in the C++ part of gcc (g++) are very significant.
> Serious C++ programmers who use STL cannot stay with or go back to
> gcc-2.7.x.

This is part of the reason Debian decided last year to go with EGCS as the
C++ compiler.

> Please let me beg: 
>   May the coming major Linux distribution, with kernel >= 2.2 have the
>   necessary patches for gcc-2.8.x.y so a single installed gcc with libgcc
>   could compile and run the kernel and perform well with C++ templates in
>   general and specifically with STL.

The current Debian version (2.0, "hamm") ships with EGCS 1.0.3a for C++ and

Debian 2.1 ("slink"), which is planned for release next month, will ship
with EGCS 1.1.1 for C++, Fortran and Pascal compilation, and FSF gcc
for C compilation, as the default kernel shipped with Debian 2.1 kernel will
still be a 2.0.x one. (Debian 2.1 will be largely 2.2.x ready; see
http://www.debian.org/~rcw/2.2/warnings.html for details).

I expect Debian 2.2 ("potato") will ship with a 2.2.x kernel by default. We
will consider switching to EGCS as the default C compiler by then.

Debian at the moment has no FSF gcc 2.8.1 packages. 

We see very few signs of active development of FSF gcc, and numerous reports
of bugs that are fixed in EGCS. 

In our experience EGCS is quite actively maintained, produces reliable
well-integrated releases and has vast improvements in C++ support over FSF
gcc. Debian itself is a bazaar-style project, and many within Debian (myself
included) believe that bazaar-style development as practiced with EGCS is
the way to go for the development of the GNU compiler.

I hope the FSF will reconsider its position wrt EGCS and bless it as the
standard gcc.

Obsig: developing a new sig

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