1. Computers
  2. Display Drivers
  3. Graphics Cards
  4. Memory
  5. Motherboards
  6. Processors
  7. Software
  8. Storage
  9. Operating Systems


Facebook RSS Twitter Twitter Google Plus


Phoronix Test Suite

OpenBenchmarking.org

LLVM's Clang Is Almost Good Enough For Debian

Debian

Published on 05 March 2012 04:36 PM EST
Written by Michael Larabel in Debian
4 Comments

Clang, the C/C++ front-end compiler for LLVM, is progressing quite quickly and is capable of building the Debian archives quite well, at least for a majority of the packages and on popular architectures.

A Debian developer's side project has been to see how well it would work to re-build the Debian archive (the entire distribution) using LLVM's Clang C/C++ compiler rather than GCC. Apple has rated LLVM/Clang as being production-ready and it continues to find new uses, especially with the recent LLVM 3.0 release. But how well does LLVM/Clang work for building the massive Debian package-set?

Per this blog post, "This compiler is providing many more warnings and interesting errors than the gcc suite while not carrying the same legacy as gcc.
This rebuild has several goals. The first one is to prove (or not) that clang is a viable alternative. Second, building a software with different compilers improves the overall quality of code by providing different checks and alerts."

Additionally, "When I had the idea to rebuild Debian with a new compiler, I was expecting many issues and bugs caused by clang but I have been surprised to notice that most of the issues are either difference in C standard supported, difference of interpretation or corner cases."

The developer carrying out this Clang'ing-Debian task, Sylvestre Ledru, explained, "My personal opinion is that clang is now stable and good enough to rebuild most of the packages in the Debian archive, even if many of them will need minor tweaks to compile properly." Ledru went as far as saying, "In the next few years, coupled with better static analysis tools, clang might replace gcc/g++ as the C/C++ compiler used by default in Linux and BSD distributions."

It was mentioned that 8.8% of the Debian packages had problems building against LLVM/Clang 3.0 while with the previous LLVM/Clang 2.9 release the failure rate was up at 14.5%.

As far as why you would want to use LLVM/Clang over the GNU Compiler Collection, there can be some performance benefits, the LLVM/Clang code analysis tools can be quite nice, the compiler is more liberally licensed, and the code-base is much more modular than GCC, among other reasons to look at this Apple-sponsored project.

The full results of this work can be found at clang.debian.net. While Clang is working out quite well for compiling most Debian packages on i686/x86_64 architectures, Debian itself still officially supports 11 different architectures and there's six unofficial ports to other architectures. For these other niche platforms, LLVM/Clang is likely to fail compared to GCC, so don't look for Debian to abandon GCC in the near future.

Meanwhile, there's plenty of other interesting LLVM developments.

Latest Linux Hardware Reviews
  1. ASUS AM1I-A: A Mini-ITX Board For Socketed Kabini APUs
  2. Mini-Box M350: A Simple, Affordable Mini-ITX Case
  3. Overclocking The AMD AM1 Athlon & Sempron APUs
  4. AMD Athlon 5350 / 5150 & Sempron 3850 / 2650
Latest Linux Articles
  1. Ubuntu 12.04.4 vs. 13.10 vs. 14.04 LTS Desktop Benchmarks
  2. AMD OpenCL Performance With AM1 Kabini APUs
  3. A Quick Look At GCC 4.9 vs. LLVM Clang 3.5
  4. Are AMD Athlon/Sempron APUs Fast Enough For Steam On Linux?
Latest Linux News
  1. FreeBSD Advances For ARM, Bhyve, Clang
  2. Ubuntu 14.04 LTS "Trusty Tahr" Officially Released
  3. Ubuntu 12.04 LTS vs. 14.04 LTS Server Benchmarks
  4. QEMU 2.0 Released With ARM, x86 Enhancements
  5. Running The Unity 8 Preview Session On Ubuntu 14.04 LTS
  6. R600 Gallium3D Disables LLVM Back-End By Default
  7. Fedora 21 Gets GNOME 3.12, PHP 5.6, Mono 3.4
  8. Fedora Workstation Is Making Me Quite Excited
  9. Maynard: A Lightweight Wayland Desktop
  10. Chromium Browser Going Through Growing Pains In Ubuntu 14.04
  11. KDE 4.13 Is Being Released Today With New Features
  12. Trying Out Radeon R9 290 Graphics On Open-Source
Latest Forum Discussions
  1. The GNOME Foundation Is Running Short On Money
  2. Updated and Optimized Ubuntu Free Graphics Drivers
  3. Radeon 8000M problematic on Linux?
  4. After Jack Keane, RuseSoft will briing Ankh 3 to Linux through Desura
  5. Suspected PHP Proxy Issue
  6. Linux Kernel Developers Fed Up With Ridiculous Bugs In Systemd
  7. Change installation destination from home directory
  8. Bye bye BSD, Hello Linux: A Sys Admin's Story