The Linux Kernel Looks To Drop Support For Intel's ICC Compiler

Written by Michael Larabel in Linux Kernel on 12 October 2022 at 12:00 PM EDT. 21 Comments
While LLVM Clang is increasingly being used by various developers and organizations for building the mainline Linux kernel as complementary support to the GCC compiler that has long been the predominant compiler target, Intel's ICC compiler has also been able to build the Linux kernel albeit not widely used. Kernel developers are now looking at removing that ICC compiler support.

As kernel developers "often forget about the third C compiler to build the kernel", Linux developer Masahiro Yamada has raised the idea of dropping Intel's ICC compiler support. There is minimal changes to the upstream kernel around the ICC compiler support and it appears the ICC support for building the kernel may be currently in a broken state without anyone complaining.

As a result of the Intel ICC compiler support for the mainline Linux kernel being broken and no one caring/noticing, this proposed patch would drop ICC support for the mainline kernel and free around 300 lines of code currently used for the ICC support.

Linus Torvalds responded to the RFC patch in favor of dropping Intel's compiler:
Ack. I don't think anybody ever really used icc.

I can't recall having heard a single peep about icc problems, and I don't think it's because it was *so* good at emulating gcc that nobody ever hit any issues.


Other kernel developers have also come out in favor of this change. Plus with Intel's ICC compiler moving from their old proprietary code-base to being an LLVM-based model, the new ICC compiler may end up being able to build the kernel using the Clang paths -- if anyone cares.
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