Wednesday, August 15, 2012

GCC Switches From C to C++

The GCC project (via Slashdot):

What matters for GCC going forward is that it continue to be comprehensible and maintainable. That is a struggle that GCC has faced for its entire existence as a free software project. It is certainly true that using C++ unwisely can make that struggle more difficult. But this issue is not qualitatively different from the issues we face today.

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I'm glad Apple's abandoned gcc. But I'm really curious about this switch. While I'm not a hater of C++ like many, it's also true that people seem to force their code in weird directions with it. I prefer using the extra features lightly. The worst parts of C++ are things from C that behave differently in different places. (Static being one of the key examples) How one would move from C to C++ though boggles the mind. Especially in a very mature product like gcc.

Is this effectively a partial rewrite? If so I worry about stability of the codebase. I think people often think such transitions are easier than they end up being. Even if your C code is already highly structured and modular.

@Clark It seems like they did use the extra features lightly. It’s pretty neat to watch this transition for a large, mature codebase.

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