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1.1 A brief history of GCC

The original author of the GNU C Compiler (GCC) is Richard Stallman, the founder of the GNU Project.

The GNU Project was started in 1984 to create a complete Unix-like operating system as free software, in order to promote freedom and cooperation among computer users and programmers. Every Unix-like operating system needs a C compiler, and as there were no free compilers in existence at that time, the GNU Project had to develop one from scratch. The work was funded by donations from individuals and companies to the Free Software Foundation, a non-profit organization set up to support the work of the GNU Project.

The first release of GCC was made in 1987. This was a significant breakthrough, being the first portable ANSI C optimizing compiler released as free software. Since that time GCC has become one of the most important tools in the development of free software.

A major revision of the compiler came with the 2.0 series in 1992, which added the ability to compile C++. In 1997 an experimental branch of the compiler (EGCS) was created, to improve optimization and C++ support. Following this work, EGCS was adopted as the new main-line of GCC development, and these features became widely available in the 3.0 release of GCC in 2001.

Over time GCC has been extended to support many additional languages, including Fortran, ADA, Java and Objective-C. The acronym GCC is now used to refer to the "GNU Compiler Collection". Its development is guided by the GCC Steering Committee, a group composed of representatives from GCC user communities in industry, research and academia.


 
 
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