Language Selection

English French German Italian Portuguese Spanish

Experts work to aid compiler behind open source

Filed under
Software

Lead programmer Mark Mitchell released GCC 4.0 on April 22. It includes a new optimization framework designed to improve the process of translating source code written by humans into binary code a computer understands.

The new version is still very much a work in progress, though, and it will take time for a clear performance advantage to emerge, Mitchell said in an interview. "It's got all this new optimization infrastructure. All that new infrastructure hasn't been as carefully tuned as much as the old one was," Mitchell said.

One of the first rocky moments of the GCC 4.0 debut came with KDE, the graphical interface software widely used on Linux computers. The package wouldn't compile with GCC 4.0, and KDE organizers blacklisted GCC 4.0 for the time being.

The bug that hampered KDE has been fixed now and should be available soon, Mitchell said. "We'll probably do a 4.0.1 refresh release earlier than planned," within a month rather than two months as originally forecast, he said.

GCC is used to produce almost all programs in the free and open-source software movements, so a little improvement or degradation in the compiler can propagate to thousands of projects.

Another rocky patch for GCC 4.0 was a review published this week by programmer and author Scott Ladd. He compared GCC 4.0 to its predecessor, GCC 3.4.3, and found that the new version often took longer to produce code and that the code was bulkier and ran more slowly.

"Is GCC 4.0 better than its predecessors?

Full Story.

More in Tux Machines

Google beefs Linux up kernel defenses in Android

Future versions of Android will be more resilient to exploits thanks to developers' efforts to integrate the latest Linux kernel defenses into the operating system. Android's security model relies heavily on the Linux kernel that sits at its core. As such, Android developers have always been interested in adding new security features that are intended to prevent potentially malicious code from reaching the kernel, which is the most privileged area of the operating system. Read more

Fork YOU! Sure, take the code. Then what?

There's an old adage in the open source world – if you don't like it, fork it. This advice, often given in a flippant manner, makes it seem like forking a piece of software is not a big deal. Indeed, forking a small project you find on GitHub is not a big deal. There's even a handy button to make it easy to fork it. Unlike many things in programming though, that interaction model, that simplicity of forking, does not scale. There is no button next to Debian that says Fork it! Thinking that all you need to do to make a project yours is to fork it is a fundamental misunderstanding of what large free/open source projects are – at their hearts, they are communities. One does not simply walk into Debian and fork it. One can, on the other hand, walk out of a project, bring all the other core developers along, and essentially leave the original an empty husk. This is what happened when LibreOffice forked away from the once-mighty OpenOffice; it's what happened when MariaDB split from MySQL; and it's what happened more recently when the core developers behind ownCloud left the company and forked the code to start their own project, Nextcloud. They also, thankfully, dropped the silly lowercase first letter thing. Nextcloud consists of the core developers who built ownCloud, but who were not, and, judging by the very public way this happened, had not been, in control of the direction of the product for some time. Read more

Proprietary and Microsoft Software

Pithos 1.2

  • New Version of Linux Pandora Client ‘Pithos’ Released
    A new release of open-source Linux Pandora client Pithos is now available for download.
  • Pithos 1.2 Improves The Open-Source/Linux Pandora Desktop Experience
    Chances are if you've ever dealt with Pandora music streaming from the Linux desktop you've encountered Pithos as the main open-source solution that works out quite well. Released today was Pithos 1.2 and it ships with numerous enhancements for this GPLv3-licensed Pandora desktop client. Pithos 1.2 adds a number of new keyboard shortcuts for the main window, initial support for translations, an explicit content filter option, reduced CPU usage with Ubuntu's default theme, redesigned dialogs and other UI elements, and more.