One of the most popular open source programs (technically Free Software) in the world got a major boost this week. GCC 4.4 adds in lots of new features the biggest of which is the Graphite Framework.
GCC, originally was an acronym for GNU C Compiler, and has changed in recent years to stand for simply the GNU Compiler Collection, as it supports more languages beyond just C.
Compilers are critical tools that compile source code into object code.
What Graphite adds to GCC is a new engine for loop optimizations. GCC 4.4 also extends the support for the upcoming C++Ox standard. The GCC 4.3 release that came out in March of 2008 was the first GCC release to being preliminary experimental support for C++Ox.
From a command line point of view there are a number of new command line switches that provide better optimization.
What does that all mean?
Well it means that (some) programs that are compiled with GCC (and that’s a lot) will now benefit from the improved optimizations and could possibly as a result become faster themselves. It never ceases to amaze me how with every new GCC release, software vendors a few months later will come out and say how their software is now faster as a result.