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LinuxProgramming: Open (and Free) Lessons From Red Hat's gcc Situation

Oct 16, 2000, 22:00 (12 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by Lou Grinzo)

"Watching the recent food fight over Red Hat's 7.0 release brings to mind something that very few people in our industry, especially programmers, seem to remember: Learning from our own mistakes is always a good thing, but learning from the mistakes of others is even better. After all, if we're open-minded enough we can still get the benefit of the lesson without having to endure the pain/embarrassment/inconvenience/whatever of making the error. Think of it as open source learning."

"I won't jump into the whole sophomoric mess regarding the original Slashdot discussion over the number of bugs that were or weren't in Red Hat 7.0 when it shipped. There's no point in fanning those embers. But one detail of Red Hat Linux 7.0 is intriguing and worthy of programmers' attention: The gcc situation."

"In case you missed it, Red Hat 7.0 ships with two copies of gcc. The standard one, named "gcc", is really version 2.96, which the GNU developers say is not, and never will be, an official release, and has some compatibility issues with versions both preceding and following it. Also included in 7.0 is something called "kgcc", which is really egcs 1.1.2/gcc 2.91.66, and is the compiler that must be used for kernel builds and in those situations that require more extensive and reliable compatibility."

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