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Re: History of GCC


On Wed, Oct 26, 2016 at 2:23 PM, Eric Gallager <egall@gwmail.gwu.edu> wrote:
> On 10/26/16, Ian Lance Taylor <iant@google.com> wrote:
>> On Wed, Oct 26, 2016 at 9:31 AM, Will Hawkins <whh8b@virginia.edu> wrote:
>>>
>>> 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.
>>
>> It is easier to answer specific questions.
>>
>> There have always been GCC developers that have tracked the evolution
>> of C++.  The first C++ standard was of course in 1998, at which point
>> the language was over 10 years old, so there were a lot of C++
>> language changes before then.  GCC has generally acquired new language
>> features as they were being adopted into the standard, usually
>> controlled by options like the current -std=c++1z.  This of course
>> means that the new features have shifted as the standard has shifted,
>> but as far as I know that hasn't happened too often.
>>
>> GCC started as a C compiler.  The C++ frontend was started by Michael
>> Tiemann around 1987 or so.  It started as a patch and was later
>> incorporated into the mainline.
>>
>> The Objective C frontend was started at NeXT.  They originally
>> intended to keep it proprietary, but when they understood that the GPL
>> made that impossible they contributed it back.  I forget when the
>> Objective C++ frontend came in.
>
>
> The Objective C++ frontend was contribute by Apple. The earliest
> proposal I can find for adding it was in 2001 for GCC 3.x:
> https://gcc.gnu.org/ml/gcc/2001-11/msg00609.html
> However, it didn't actually make it in to the FSF version until 4.1:
> https://gcc.gnu.org/ml/gcc-patches/2005-05/msg01781.html
> https://gcc.gnu.org/ml/gcc-patches/2005-12/msg01812.html
> Personally, I think one of the interesting stories of GCC history is
> how Apple used to be really involved in GCC development until 2007, at
> which point the GPL3 and iPhone came out, and Apple abandoned GCC for
> llvm/clang. If you read through the mailing list archives on
> gcc.gnu.org, you can find all sorts of emails from people with "at
> apple dot com" email addresses in the early 2000s, until they just
> sort of stopped later that decade. Even llvm/clang was originally just
> another branch of gcc, and Chris Lattner was even going to contribute
> it and keep it part of gcc, but then he never got around to getting
> his copyright assignment paperwork filed, and then Apple turned it
> into a separate project:
> https://gcc.gnu.org/ml/gcc/2005-11/msg00888.html
> https://gcc.gnu.org/ml/gcc/2006-03/msg00706.html
>
>
>>
>> Cygnus Support developed the Chill and, later, Java frontends.  The
>> Chill frontend was removed later, and in fact the Java frontend was
>> removed just recently.
>>
>> As I recall Fortran was a hobbyist project that eventually made it in.
>> There were two competing forks, I think.  I don't remember too much
>> about that off the top of my head.
>>
>> The Ada frontend was developed at AdaCore.
>>
>> The Go frontend was written by me, mostly because I like Go and I've
>> been working on GCC for a long time.  I work at Google, and Go was
>> developed at Google, but there wouldn't be a GCC Go frontend if I
>> hadn't decided to write one.
>>
>> There is a Modula frontend that is always close to getting in.  I
>> think there is a Pascal frontend out there too, somewhere.  And a D
>> frontend.
>>
>> Ian
>>

I want to thank each individual for his/her reply, but I don't want to
SPAM the list. So, I will do it in one email!

Thanks! This is so much more information than I expected to get and
it's just amazing. Thanks again!

Will


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