FreeBSD 13 Is Preparing To Finally Retire GCC 4.2
Written by Michael Larabel in BSD on 14 August 2019 at 06:36 AM EDT. 18 Comments
BSD --
GCC 4.2.1 has been out since 2007 and while there have been many big updates to the GNU Compiler Collection over the past decade, that version remains somewhat common in the BSD land due to being the last version under the GPLv2 license. GCC 4.2.2 and newer switched over to GPLv3+ and that is why several BSDs have stuck to using GCC 4.2.1 or at least keeping it in their base repository. But now for FreeBSD 13, this old version of GCC is set to be retired with FreeBSD already being quite focused on LLVM Clang as its default compiler while also offering newer GCC versions via its package management system.

A firm timeline has been established for removing GCC 4.2.1 before next year's FreeBSD 13 release. This timeline includes dropping GCC 4.2.1 from continuous integration builds at the end of the month and turning off GCC 4.2.1 from universe by default. At the end of the calendar year they will turn off GCC 4.2.1 by default and at the end of March is when they will remove the compiler code entirely from their SVN. Next May they also intend to drop non-Clang platforms that are not supported by the in-tree LLVM or converted to an external toolchain.

The main risk here is for the less common CPU architectures where the LLVM/Clang compiler support isn't as well off. "The timeline gives powerpc, mips, mips64, and sparc64 9 months to integrate either into an in-tree compiler, or to have a proven external toolchain solution. This is on top of the many-years-long warnings about this being the end game of the clang integration."

More details on the FreeBSD mailing list.
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