GCC 7.3 Scheduled For Release On Thursday
GCC 7.3 is the point release to GCC 7 that's quickly being prepared to ship the Spectre patches. Earlier this month the Spectre work was back-ported to GCC 7 and now this next point release is quickly being prepared.
These Spectre patches are the compiler-side work for Retpolines with the new -mindirect-thunk option and friends. This compiler support paired with a patched kernel is needed for offering full Retpoline support. The kernel patches are currently in Linux 4.15 Git (but more improvements expected for Linux 4.16) and also back-ported to Linux 4.9 and 4.14 stable point releases.
Richard Biener today released GCC 7.3 RC2 with hopes of officially shipping this release on Thursday. Besides the patches for Spectre, there are also various bug/regression fixes too in this point release. GCC 8.1 meanwhile is expected around March as the annual feature update to the GNU Compiler Collection.
The Spectre work is talked about for potentially back-porting to GCC point releases as far as 4.x, but as of writing the code so far has only found its way as far back as the GCC7 branch.