Intel's Clear Linux Already Forging Plans To Land GCC 9 & LLVM 8

Written by Michael Larabel in Clear Linux on 1 March 2019 at 05:32 AM EST. 11 Comments
While we have looked extensively at the performance of generated binaries of user-space applications built under GCC 9, soon we'll be able to benchmark a complete system image built under this annual compiler update to the GNU compiler as Clear Linux is planning a quick roll-out of the soon-to-be-released compiler.

GCC 9 is expected for release in March or April and Intel's Clear Linux is planning for punctually shifting over to this new compiler stack that brings improved/new CPU support, new C++2A features, the D language front-end, and a lot of other features. Clear Linux is also planning on adding the soon-to-be-released LLVM 8 compiler stack, which they use for selectively building some of their packages where Clang yields faster binaries as well as being important for the likes of the AMDGPU compiler back-end. It will certainly be fun to benchmark the before/after of Clear Linux when shifting to the new compiler and having all of their packages rebuilt, since most other Linux distributions will be moving to GCC 9 later in the year or still some weeks out in the case of Fedora 30. Thus with Clear Linux we'll have an early look at the effects of an entire system stack built under the new compiler.

Their toolchain update plans are spelled out in this mailing list post. They also plan to enable Position Independent Executables (PIE) by default around the same time. Separately, they also laid out their plans for transitioning to systemd 241 next week.

With having personally switched to running Clear Linux on my main production workstation a few weeks ago, these upcoming low-level upgrades will be a real test for seeing how smoothly they can roll out such significant changes in a suitable fashion with their packaging system.
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Michael Larabel is the principal author of and founded the site in 2004 with a focus on enriching the Linux hardware experience. Michael has written more than 20,000 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 automated benchmarking software. He can be followed via Twitter, LinkedIn, or contacted via

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