When the GCC steering committee made its October 6 announcement
regarding the unofficial release of its 2.96 development version,
the announcement's first sentence left some people scratching their
The sentence implied that there was more than one distribution
of Linux that had released with GCC 2.96, which was the version
number for the development track of the GNU C Compiler. Red Hat
Inc. came under some criticism last week when it was revealed that
Red Hat Linux 7 shipped with the snapshot of this development
release of the user-space complier.
Specifically, the sentence read: "It has come to our attention
that some GNU/Linux distributions are currently shipping with "GCC
At the time, the author of the announcement, Gerald Pfeifer,
could not be reached for comment on what other distributions
besides Red Hat 7 had included this specific version. Earlier this
week, Pfeifer had this response to the question regarding other
"Personally, I am not aware of any distribution besides Red Hat
that uses this snapshot, but I have been told that some
distributions have been planning to do something similar and
FreeBSD is using a snapshot on its Current (development) branch,"
Pfeifer said in an online interview.
A quick survey of three other popular Linux distributions
revealed no releases of any GCC version other than from the stable
Both Linux-Mandrake's current 7.1 release and the beta 7.2
release are shipping with GCC 2.95.2-7 and GCC 2.95.2-12,
respectively. SuSE 7.0 ships with GCC 2.95.2-100, and Debian comes
with GCC 2.95.2-13.
In response to the shipment of 2.96 by Red Hat, the steering
committee also announced they were renumbering the development
branch to 2.97. The next stable release of GCC will be 3.0, which
has a qualified target date of later this year.
"We would like to release GCC 3.0 by the end of the year, if all
goes well," Pfeifer said, "though there may be unforeseen delays,
as our primary focus for releases is quality, not date of