"GCC and GNU Emacs are the two facets of the GNU operating
system that have probably done more than any other to take GNU and
free software from idealistic concept to a utilitarian reality.
Having previously looked at GNU Emacs and the Hurd, Richard
Hillesley looks at the history and progress of GCC.
"GCC began life as the GNU C Compiler and achieved its first
release on March 22, 1987. Michael Tiemann, who contributed as much
as anyone to the later development of GCC, and who had dreamed of
writing the perfect compiler, said that the day of GCC's release
was "the most thrilling and most terrifying day of my life (up to
""I had a decision to make," he wrote on the twentieth
anniversary of Richard Stallman's first release of GCC. "I could
join him, I could compete with him, or I could pick a new dream. I
downloaded GCC version 1.0 and began a collaboration that would
last for ten years (when, due to RSI, I gave up programming as a