Arch Linux Could Use Some Help With Toolchain Maintenance
Written by Michael Larabel in Arch Linux on 7 February 2022 at 05:30 AM EST. 52 Comments
ARCH LINUX --
While Arch Linux is known to be at the forefront of rolling-release Linux distributions, when it comes to its compiler toolchain the packages have fallen behind over the past year.

Unlike most Arch Linux packages that are punctually updated and maintained against new upstream releases, when it comes to the compiler toolchain an apparent lack of manpower has been impacting progress in this area. In recent weeks multiple Phoronix readers have chimed in regarding this surprising bottleneck on Arch.

Most of the tips are pointing out this Arch Linux thread about Glibc and GCC package maintenance. That thread was started in late October with no official updates to the packages in question and many Arch users still left wondering what's going on with the important toolchain components not being actively maintained.


Arch's GCC package is at version 11.1 with the only changes since last May being for the Python 3.10 rebuild. That's while GCC 11.2 is the latest upstream since last July.

Arch's Glibc is at version 2.33 with no major changes since it was introduced one year ago besides when it was then later rebuilt for GCC 11.1 in May. Meanwhile Glibc 2.34 was released at the start of August and Glibc 2.35 released last week. Among the many changes in the GNU C Library each release are security fixes.

Arch developer Allan McRae who previously maintained some of the GNU toolchain packages commented back in October and attributed the lack of updates at least partially to a matter of needing sufficient testing and "Particularly as this is the new toolchain maintainers second toolchain update and the previous maintainer is no longer around to provide advice, and the one before that retired from packaging years ago." Allan meanwhile has been maintaining an alternative Arch Linux toolchain that does keep updated against new GNU releases.

All public indications are that these GNU toolchain delays for Arch Linux amount to manpower issues with the volunteer package maintainers. However, even with the lack of updates being discussed on their forums for four months now, there haven't been any updates to said packages and users wrangling together what works for them.

Hopefully the situation will improve soon while those wanting to get involved with Arch Linux and help its development can learn more about various ways to do so via the Arch Linux Wiki.

Update: Arch Linux Update On The Status Of Its Toolchain
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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 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 OpenBenchmarking.org automated benchmarking software. He can be followed via Twitter, LinkedIn, or contacted via MichaelLarabel.com.

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