May 25, 2001, 12:00 AM — As we all know, Open Source products don't have rigid deadlines.
However, the tentative release of the new GCC 3.0 compiler scheduled
for June 15th is a significant leap in terms of compiler technology,
language support, portability, and performance. This week, I will
present the novelties and enhancements of the imminent GCC 3.0 compiler.
GCC 3.0 New Features
While GCC supports several languages, including Fortran, Objective C,
and Java, its first and foremost usage is as a C/C++ compiler. In this
regard, the development team has invested a great deal of work
designing, implementing, testing, and bug fixing. The new version will
support the C++ Standard Library properly. Up until now, essential
components of the Standard Library were missing, such as the
Library have been supported only partially. This is going to change
soon, as GCC 3.0 includes a brand new implementation of the Standard
Another major change is a new Abstract Binary Interface (ABI). For this
reason, no binary compatibility exists between GCC 3.0 and older
versions of compiled code. However, unlike previous releases, the ABI
is stable and expects to remain unchanged in the following releases.
In terms of core-language features, the 3.0 release fixes some minor
bugs and includes a newly written preprocessor. Tighter support of C99
is also expected, although the new release doesn't fully support the
new C standard yet.
Regarding compilation technology, GCC 3.0 is expected to compile code
faster; some tests showed it 40% faster than its predecessor. Compiling
large amounts of code and applications that make extensive use of
templates make this improvement much more noticeable -- an area that
has been pretty neglected thus far.
Additional changes you'll find in GCC 3.0 include:
* GCC 3.0 will offer better Java support. Unlike previous releases,
the Java standard library should be included in the new release.
Thus, users won't have to download it separately;
* Apparently, GCC 3.0 will not support the Chill language anymore
due to a lack of interest (and volunteers);
* The creators of GCC 3.0 ensure that the generated code's quality
is at least as good as its predecessor. In fact, it seems that
the new release will be better in this regard.
For more information on GCC 3.0, visit the official GCC Web site at