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Red Hat Magazine: From Source to Binary: The Inner Workings of GCC

Dec 17, 2004, 13:00 (0 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by Diego Novillo)

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"Computers are very complex and, at the same time, very dumb objects. They need to be told in excruciating detail exactly what to do. Even worse, they only understand sequences of bits (1s and 0s), so for instance, simple operations like adding two integer numbers may require a sequence of about 48 bits on a modern Pentium processor. Imagine what it would take to implement an Operating System.

"Needless to say, we don't usually program computers using strings of bits. Instead, we write all the instructions in a language we can understand and then have it translated into the appropriate sequence of 1s and 0s that the computer can understand. The concept of translation in the computer world is pervasive. Everything you tell the computer to do needs to go through a translation process..."

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