Re: GCC is 25 years old today

mev <>
Sun, 1 Apr 2012 06:20:20 -0700 (PDT)

          From comp.compilers

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From: mev <>
Newsgroups: comp.compilers
Date: Sun, 1 Apr 2012 06:20:20 -0700 (PDT)
Organization: Compilers Central
References: 12-03-051 12-03-053 12-03-062 12-03-074
Keywords: GCC, C, history
Posted-Date: 01 Apr 2012 23:14:13 EDT

> I had an internship at HP in the late 1980s. One of the people there
> commented that, when gcc came out, it's code was (IIRC) 30% faster
> than that of HPs compilers (for the 68k-based HP9000 computers running
> HP/UX); a year later HPs compiler had caught up quite a bit. My guess
> is that HP's compiler was PCC-based, and that optimization did not play
> a big role in the Unix market until the arrival of RISCs and GCC.

I worked on HP's 68K compilers from 1986 to 1992, particularly C and
Fortran front ends. These compilers were indeed PCC based.

We did optimization improvements including support for Dragon floating
point accelerator in HP-UX 6.5 (1988), peephole optimizations, adding
new inliner and some loop optimizations. We also updated front ends
to support ANSI C and features from upcoming Fortran 90 standard.
There was also some work to improve strcmp/strcpy as they played
heavily into Dhrystone 1.0. I still have the HP-UX 6.5 T-shirt with
release goals of >8 MIPS.

The performance emphasis came more from competitive positioning
against Sun and correlation with GCC introduction would be
coincidental in my recall. PA-RISC, SPARC and MIPS were coming on the
scene also with optimization emphasis.

We were aware of GCC but more as an interesting curiosity than
competitively. I also was at Denver C++ conference in October 1988
when Michael Tiemann presented what was first called GNU C++ but
became G++.

Mike Vermeulen

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