The lost art (Was: The VAX is running

Jim Brain brain at
Tue Apr 7 23:32:09 CDT 2009

John Floren wrote:
> I'd like it if Linux wasn't built around the many weirdnesses of GCC
> X.Y.Z, and heaven help you if you want to compile with a non-GCC
> compiler.
> I've heard tales (from reputable people who have been doing Unix
> longer than I've been alive) of not being able to build GCC with
> various previous versions.
> The toolchain is huge, and the whole thing just seems baroque as hell.
> Have I been bitten by any of these things? Well, I have had software
> fail to compile for no reason other than having the wrong GCC version
> (no, don't remember what software, seems like half of the Linux source
> out there won't even compile most of the time), the others, not yet.
> However, all the real programming I've done in the last couple years
> has been in Plan 9 with the Plan 9 editor, the Plan 9 dialect of C,
> and the Plan 9 compilers and linkers (8c, 8l, 6c, 6l, qc, ql, etc.).
> I'm rather dreading the MPI programming I'll soon have to do for my
> Multi Processor Systems course, which will be POSIX C (with MPI added
> in), written in vi or emacs unless I can compile one of my favored
> Plan 9 editors on the cluster, and compiled with GCC.
I guess to each his/her own, but I've never had such issues compiling on 
Linux.  I often have issues with some include file or library not being 
present, but I don't blame GCC for that.

I think there are better compilers out there for specific platforms 
(Intel I understand makes a very good compiler for x86 targets), but I 
must say I am impressed by a toolchain I can compile with multiple 
targets and then compile code for 3 targets with suitable command line 

I didn't realize there's a lot of call for Plan9 out there, but I'm not 
up on all things.  In my world, there is a distinct advantage to knowing 
GCC (any platform).

And, I know, given the topic I am somewhat hijacking, folks won't care 
to hear this, but the "good enough" seems to often best the "best", 
because it's, well, good enough.


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