Re: [dev] Optimizing C compiler & c++ compiler/runtime

From: Paul Onyschuk <>
Date: Fri, 20 Dec 2013 16:35:36 +0100

On Fri, 20 Dec 2013 13:49:43 +0100
Sylvain BERTRAND <> wrote:

> Is there any remaining good c++ compiler/runtime which can
> boostrap using a C compiler/minimal runtime?
> Since, it's near impossible to re-write/unroll all the
> "mandatory" c++ components in C quickly (harfbuzz,
> gecko/webkit...), what to do? Any suggestions?

Not that I'm aware of, beside I'm not sure what benefits this would
bring? You're fine with C++ in one place, but not the other?

> There is also the question of finding a new C99 optimizing
> compiler written properly in C of course.
> Anything else?

This is valid question on other hand e.g. base OpenBSD is C++ free for
some time AFAIK (after the removal of groff). Idea of minimal set of
tools, capable of rebuilding itself is attractive.

On one hand, you can use pretty old GCC and most of C codebase will
compile just fine (OpenBSD still uses patched GCC v4.2.1, which is more
than six years old). C is stable - you will more likely see changes in
standard C library, than compiler/language itself. GCC v4.7.x should
work just fine for some years to come.

C++ is different kind of beast. More and more software requires C++11
features and this means very recent version of compilers, especially
since C++ standard libraries are developed inside the same projects
(GCC/libstdc++, Clang/libc++). Sticking to GCC v4.7.x isn't an option
here as far I can tell.

The last problem: C99-capable compiler isn't enough to get usable
system based on Linux. Clang which was designed as GCC drop-in
replacement chokes on Linux kernel (some patches are needed), because
it heavily uses GCC extensions and specific features (some

PCC/TCC aren't actively developed, I'm not sure about the status of
firm/CParser. Still those alternative C compilers are just good
enough for specific programs and not larger set of packages.

Paul Onyschuk
Received on Fri Dec 20 2013 - 16:35:36 CET

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