Kernel Developers Still Discussing Raising Linux's Compiler Requirements
Written by Michael Larabel in Linux Kernel on 25 April 2017 at 07:18 AM EDT. 21 Comments
Linux kernel developers are still looking to raise the requirements of GCC for building the Linux kernel.

It turns out some developers are still using GCC 4.1 for building the mainline Linux kernel, largely for MIPS and other niche architectures. Plus some developers still are using older GCC compiler releases for allegedly better compiler warnings. But at least in 2017 it's looking like there's some agreement on beginning to mandate later GCC 4.x compilers as a minimum for being able to build newer kernel releases.

This is reigniting the kernel + GCC requirement discussion that had started last December while is now being active again on the kernel mailing list this week.

Arnd Bergmann's latest proposal comes down to:
- To keep it simple, we update the README.rst to say that a minimum gcc-4.3 is required, while recommending gcc-4.9 for all architectures
- Support for gcc-4.0 and earlier gets removed from linux/compiler.h, and instead we add a summary of what I found, explaining that gcc-4.1 has active users on a few architectures.
- We make the Makefile show a warning once during compilation for gcc earlier than 4.3.

So far there's been two responses from other upstream developers on this proposal, both in favor of this revision. So if you still find yourself building the latest Linux kernel Git code while sticking to a GCC3 or ~4.0 compiler, you might want to ask yourself why, and consider upgrading as your days of this combination may be limited.
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