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August 2016 GNU Toolchain Update


Hi Guys,

  It has been a long time since my last post, so there is lots to tell
  you about.  First of all there have been major releases of most of
  the tools:

  GCC 6.2 is here.  This is mostly a bug-fix release over gcc 6.1 of
  course, but it does also include a few enhancements for the SPARC
  target:

     Support for --with-cpu-32 and --with-cpu-64 configure
     options has been added on bi-architecture platforms.

     Support for the SPARC M7 (Niagara 7) processor has
     been added.

     Support for the VIS 4.0 instruction set has been added.

  Binutils 2.27 has now been released.  In addition to enhancements
  mentioned in previous postings, this release also includes:

     A configure option --enable-relro={yes|no} to decide
     whether -z relro should be the default behaviour for
     the linker in ELF based targets.  If this configure
     option is not specified then relro will be enabled
     automatically for all Linux based targets except FRV,
     HPPA, IA64 and MIPS.

     Linux/x86 targets now default to enabling the compression
     of debug sections.  This change can be reverted by using
     the --enable-compressed-debug-sections=no configure option.
     
     The assembler now supports a --no-pad-sections command
     line option to prevent it from padding the end of each
     section up to its alignment boundary.  This can be useful
     on systems with very tight memory constraints.

     The ARC port of gas now accepts a --with-cpu=TYPE
     configure option to specify the default cpu type.


  GDB 7.12 is out.  This release includes:

     GDB and GDBserver are now built with a C++ compiler by default.
     The configure option --disable-build-with-cxx can be used to
     build with a C compiler instead, although this option will soon
     be deprecated.

     GDB now supports a negative repeat count in the 'x' command to
     examine memory *backwards* from the given address.
 
     GDB now supports a new mechanism that allows front-ends to provide
     fully featured GDB console views, as a better alternative to
     building such views on top of the "-interpreter-exec console"
     command.  Front-ends can now start GDB in the traditional
     command-line mode running in an embedded terminal emulator
     widget, and create a separate MI interpreter running on a
     specified i/o device.  In this way, GDB handles line editing,
     history, tab completion, etc. in the console all by itself, and
     the GUI uses the separate MI interpreter for its own control and
     synchronization, invisible to the command line.


  In addition the development versions of these tools continue to add
  new features and abilities.  For example:

    G++ has a new command line option -fconstexpr-loop-limit=<n> which
    sets the maximum number of iterations for a loop in C++14
    constexpr functions.  A limit is needed to detect infinite loops
    during constant expression evaluation.

    G++ now also supports -fstrong-eval-order which forces the
    evaluation of member access, array subscripting, and shift
    expressions in left-to-right order, and assignments in
    right-to-left order, as adopted for C++17.  This option is enabled
    by default when -std=c++1z is used.

    The compiler now supports a new command line option: -fdiagnostics-parseable-fixits
    This option tells the compiler to extend the diagnostic messages
    that it displays by adding an extra line.  This line is intended
    to be a machine parseable hint for consumption by an IDE.  The
    hint starts with the text "fix-it:" and the rest gives information
    about the source code location involved.  For example:
    
       fix-it:"test.c":{45:3-45:21}:"function_foo"


    The compiler now supports a new optimization: -fcode-hoisting
    This tries to move the evaluation of expressions executed on all
    paths to as early as possible in the function.  This is especially
    useful as a code size optimization, but it often helps for code
    speed as well.

    GCC now has support for the _Float<N> and _Float<N>x types as
    defined by the ISO/IEC TS 18661-3:2015 standard.  The actual set
    of types supported depends upon the target architecture however.
    So for example the _Float128 type is supported on all systems
    where __float128 is supported or where long double has the IEEE
    binary128 format.  The _Float64x type is supported on all systems
    where __float128 is supported.  The _Float32 type is supported on
    all systems supporting IEEE binary32.  The _Float64 and Float32x
    types are supported on all systems supporting IEEE binary64.
    Currently there are no target architectures that would support
    the _Float16 or _Float128x types.

    The ARM port of the toolchain now supports the ARMv8.2-A
    architecture extensions.  In addition revisions older than ARMv4t
    are now deprecated.

    The PowerPC port of the compiler now supports the use of built-in
    functions that allow direct access to the Hardware Transactional
    Memory (HTM) instructions that were added in version 2.07 of the
    PowerPC ISA. 

    The linker has extended the --out-implib=<file> option, previously
    restricted to x86 PE targets, to any ELF based target.  This
    allows the generation of an import library for an ELF executable,
    which can then be used by another application to link against the
    executable.

    This feature is now used by the ARM port of the linker to create
    import libraries suitable for use in the generation of Secure
    Gateways, as per the ARMv8-M Security Extensions.

    The objdump program now supports the use of the -M option with ARC
    targets to specify the instruction class(es) that should be
    disassembled.

    The objcopy and strip programs now accept section patterns
    starting with an exclamation point to indicate any section not
    matching the pattern.  In addition a new option
    --remove-relocations=<section_pattern> can be used to remove
    sections containing relocations. 

    GDB has added support for thread names on MS-Windows.  In addition
    it can now catch and handle the special exception that programs
    running on MS-Windows use to assign names to threads in the
    debugger.

    In Newlib the entire set of locale-specific functions from
    POSIX-1.2008 has now been implemented with one exception:
    strfmon_l.  This means that any character handling function (eg
    isalnum, toascii, etc) and any string handling function (eg
    strtoll) now has a locale based equivalent (isalnum_l, toascii_l,
    strtoll_l, etc).

Cheers
  Nick


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