Zack's Kernel News

Zack's Kernel News

Article from Issue 269/2023
Author(s):

Chronicler Zack Brown reports on the little links that bring us closer within the Linux kernel community.

Minimum Version Numbers for Build Tools

Long ago, when this ancient planet was not yet quite so ancient, the Linux kernel refused to support newer versions of the GNU C compiler (GCC). Compiler development proceeded, and Linux would compile only on a specific older version because Linus Torvalds disagreed with some of the new behaviors going into GCC. In other words, it was war.

Today the situation is much different, and the Linux kernel now identifies the minimum version of the tools it requires, rather than the maximum. And today, as Masahiro Yamada pointed out recently, Linux supports GCC version 5.1 and later.

However, Masahiro noted that version 2.23 of GNU Binutils – the assembler, the linker, and other tools essential for building anything with GCC – was now 10 years old and showing its age. Masahiro wanted to raise Linux's minimum supported version to Binutils 2.25, which was released just around the time of GCC 5.1 (seven years ago). He posted a patch to make that change.

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