Linux 5.18 Plans To Switch From C89 To C11/GNU11 C Version

Written by Michael Larabel in Linux Kernel on 10 March 2022 at 07:00 AM EST. 35 Comments
When Linus Torvalds gets motivated and behind kernel changes, they tend to happen more quickly, with the latest example being the switching from the C89 language standard to C11 (GNU11). That change is now expected early on for the Linux 5.18 merge window.

Recently there was discussions over moving from C89 to C11 for the Linux kernel. To this point C programming for the kernel has been limited to the old C89 standard while now the target is being bumped up to the much more modern C11. With Linux 5.15 having already bumped the GCC compiler version requirement to GCC 5.1, they can safely move to begin allowing C11/GNU11 language features without imposing any new compiler requirements.

Following the quick revisions to the patch-set for bumping the "-std=gnu89" to "-std=gnu11" targeting for building the Linux kernel, Linus Torvalds noted he would like to pull this into the next merge window early on in case other pull requests end up making use of C11 functionality, etc.

Switching to C11 will happen for the upcoming cycle, Linux 5.18.

There is now linux-kbuild's kbuild-gnu11 branch that will be sent in early on for the Linux 5.18 merge window. That merge window will be kicking off next week if Linux 5.17 releases on time Sunday.
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