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Re: History of GCC

On 10/26/2016 12:31 PM, Will Hawkins wrote:
On Wed, Oct 26, 2016 at 9:07 AM, Ian Lance Taylor <> wrote:
On Tue, Oct 25, 2016 at 10:53 PM, Will Hawkins <> wrote:
My name is Will Hawkins and I am a longtime user of gcc and admirer of
the project. I hope that this is the proper forum for the question I
am going to ask. If it isn't, please accept my apology and ignore me.

I am a real geek and I love the history behind open source projects.
I've found several good resources about the history of "famous" open
source projects and organizations (including, but definitely not
limited to, the very interesting Free as in Freedom 2.0).

Unfortunately there does not appear to be a good history of the
awesome and fundamental GCC project. I know that there is a page on
the wiki ( but that is really the
best that I can find.

Am I missing something? Are there good anecdotes about the history of
the development of GCC that you think I might find interesting? Any
pointers would be really great!

Thanks for taking the time to read my questions. Thanks in advance for
any information that you have to offer. I really appreciate everyone's
effort to make such a great compiler suite. It's only with such a
great compiler that all our other open source projects are able to
There is some history and links at .

In my opinion, the history of GCC is not really one of drama or even
anecdotes, except for the EGCS split.  There are plenty of people who
work on GCC out of personal interest, but for decades now the majority
of work on GCC has been by people paid to work on it.  I expect that
the result is less interesting as history and more interesting as


Thank you for your response! I don't think that there has to be
controversy to be interesting. Obviously that split/reunification was
important, but I think that there might even be some value in
documenting the minutia of the project's growth. In other words, what
was the process for incorporating each new version of the C++
standard? Who and why did GCC start a frontend for X language? Things
like that.
The C++ standards committee requires that each feature added be tried in at least one existing implementation before ratification. There are experimental "standards" starting with TR1 back in 2005 or so and continuing up through today. gcc developers are very quick to read the papers and start developing (assuming the idea didn't already come from us in the first place). This implementation experience feeds into the standards process. Basically, g++ and libstdc++ have been very important testing ground for the C++ standard ideas.

Speaking for myself, I got sucked in in 2005 after seeing Pete Becker's book on Standard Library Extensions (TR1). I love numerics and there was a set of mathematical functions that I had implemented for myself for school and other projects. I decided to put that into libstdc++ and I've been hooked ever since. I have added some containers (forward_list). I even have delved into the front end such as adding user-defined literals.

I am a crazy hobbyist.  Possibly one of the few.

Thanks again for your response!


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