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LinuxFocus: GCC - The Root of All

Apr 25, 2002, 01:00 (28 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by Lorne Bailey)

"Can you imagine compiling Free software with a closed source, proprietary compiler? How do you know what's going into your executable? There could be any kind of back door or Trojan. Ken Thompson, in one of the great hacks of all time, wrote a compiler that left a back door in the 'login' program and perpetuated the trojan when the compiler realized it was compiling itself. Read his description of this all time classic here. Luckily, we have gcc.

"Whenever you do a configure; make; make install gcc does a lot of heavy lifting behind the scenes. How do we make gcc work for us? We will start writing a card game, but we will only write as much as we need to to demonstrate the compiler's functionality. Since we're starting from scratch, it takes an understanding of the compile process to know what needs to be done to make an executable and in what order. We will look at the general overview of how a C program gets compiled and the options that make gcc do what we want it to do. The steps (and the tools that do them) are Pre-compile (gcc -E), Compile (gcc), Assembly (as), and Link (ld)..."

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