Free compiler system
GCC GNU Compiler Collection is a development tool developed by Free Software Foundation, Inc. As the name suggests, this free application offers a comprehensive compiler system. It comes with in-built frontends and libraries, allowing it to support a wide variety of programming languages.
GCC is considered the de-facto compiler on most systems. However, since new compilers such as C Compiler and Clang are available, this app is often used as a reference point for benchmarks. Compared to new compilers, its compilers are relatively slow and do not produce the most optimized code on the market.
How does GCC GNU Compiler Collection work?
The GNU Compiler Collection, or GCC for short, is a development kit that initially handled only the C programming language. However, with the development of additional frontends, it expanded its capability and can now compile C++, Objective-C, Objective C++, Go, Fortran, Ada, Java, and more. It also supports a wide variety of processor architectures. As a result, it became a development tool for lots of free and proprietary apps.
GCC translates the programming languages to machine language. First, it takes the source code and processes it by removing comments and expanding the macro name with code. Then, it moves it to the compiler that turns each line in the preprocessed file into assembly language. The assembler then translates it into the object code. Finally, the linker outputs the file that is executable and ready to be run.
Users can also extend the GCC compiler by adding plugins. By doing so, you can modify stock compilers to fit your specific needs. You can add, remove, and even replace middle-end passes operating on Gimple representations. However, as noted, the compilers can be relatively slow. The codes it produces are also not the most optimized in the marker. Moreover, there are various causes of the app lagging on error reporting.
Is it worth it?
Overall, GCC GNU Compiler Collection is a comprehensive collection of libraries and frontends that you can use to compile source code into binary applications. The app supports not only C but also other programming languages. Not only that, but it also supports a wide variety of architecture. Its compilers are slower than more modern compiler systems but it still has expertise built up around it.