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.

About The Author
Michael Larabel is the principal author of Phoronix.com and founded the web-site in 2004 with a focus on enriching the Linux hardware experience and being the largest web-site devoted to Linux hardware reviews, particularly for products relevant to Linux gamers and enthusiasts but also commonly reviewing servers/workstations and embedded Linux devices. Michael has written more than 10,000 articles covering the state of Linux hardware support, Linux performance, graphics hardware drivers, and other topics. Michael is also the lead developer of the Phoronix Test Suite, Phoromatic, and OpenBenchmarking.org automated testing software. He can be followed via and or contacted via .
Latest Linux Hardware Reviews
  1. MSI X99S SLI PLUS On Linux
  2. NVIDIA GeForce GTX 970 Offers Great Linux Performance
  3. CompuLab Intense-PC2: An Excellent, Fanless, Mini PC Powered By Intel's i7 Haswell
  4. From The Atom 330 To Haswell ULT: Intel Linux Performance Benchmarks
Latest Linux Articles
  1. RunAbove: A POWER8 Compute Cloud With Offerings Up To 176 Threads
  2. 6-Way Ubuntu 14.10 Linux Desktop Benchmarks
  3. Ubuntu 14.10 XMir System Compositor Benchmarks
  4. Btrfs RAID HDD Testing On Ubuntu Linux 14.10
Latest Linux News
  1. openSUSE Factory & Tumbleweed Are Merging
  2. More Fedora Delays: Fedora 21 Beta Slips
  3. Mono Brings C# To The Unreal Engine 4
  4. Coreboot Now Has Support For Intel Broadwell Hardware
  5. Enlightenment's EFL 1.12 Alpha Has Evas GL-DRM Engine, OpenGL ES 1.1 Support
  6. GTK+ Lands Experimental Backend For Mir Display Server
  7. Ubuntu 14.10 Officially Released
  8. Mesa 10.4 Might Re-Enable HyperZ For R600g/RadeonSI
  9. Intel GVT-g GPU Virtualization Moves Closer
  10. GTK+ 3.16 To Bring Several New Features
Latest Forum Discussions
  1. Ubuntu 16.04 Might Be The Distribution's Last 32-Bit Release
  2. Updated and Optimized Ubuntu Free Graphics Drivers
  3. Linux hacker compares Solaris kernel code:
  4. HOPE: The Ease Of Python With The Speed Of C++
  5. Advertisements On Phoronix
  6. Users/Developers Threatening Fork Of Debian GNU/Linux
  7. AMD Releases UVD Video Decode Support For R600 GPUs
  8. Proof that strlcpy is un-needed

Close Advertisement

Close Advertisement