GCC 4.9 Diagnostics Will Begin Playing With Colors
Written by Michael Larabel in Compiler on 2 May 2013 at 09:11 AM EDT. 8 Comments
While GCC 4.8 was released less than two months ago and GCC 4.9 isn't likely to surface until 2014, there's already a new feature to the next major update of the GNU Compiler Collection. GCC 4.9 introduces support for colored outputs in debugging.

With LLVM/Clang offering a great diagnostics experience, GCC developers have been challenged to improve the diagnostics and debugging abilities within their open-source compiler. Introduced with GCC 4.8 were improved diagnostics thanks to the Clang competition and it looks like GCC 4.9 will continue trying to enhance the support for the long-standing Free Software Foundation compiler.

One of the new GCC 4.9 features is support for colorizing GCC diagnostic. There's a new -fdiagnostics-color=auto compiler switch to enable colored outputs to terminals. There's also a GCC_COLORS environment variable to achieve the same effect while also being able to customize the coloring.

The colored diagnostics include prettying the error/warning/note markers, caret line, location information, and quoted strings.

More details on the new GCC color options to be introduced in GCC 4.9 can be found from the online documentation.
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Michael Larabel is the principal author of Phoronix.com and founded the site in 2004 with a focus on enriching the Linux hardware experience. Michael has written more than 10,000 articles covering the state of Linux hardware support, Linux performance, graphics drivers, and other topics. Michael is also the lead developer of the Phoronix Test Suite, Phoromatic, and OpenBenchmarking.org automated benchmarking software. He can be followed via Twitter or contacted via MichaelLarabel.com.

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