C compiler variants

Discussion in 'C Programming' started by DanielJohnson, Feb 20, 2007.

  1. I am a newbie in C programming and I have already heard lot of C
    compiler variants including ANSI, C9X, Borland etc. Could somebody
    complete the list.

    Which compiler is the most versatile and largely used ? I am using gcc
    on Ubuntu as I don't have access to any other ones.

    Can sombody throw light on how the journey of C has changed from K&R
    times to now.

    Thanks
    DanielJohnson, Feb 20, 2007
    #1
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  2. DanielJohnson said:

    > I am a newbie in C programming and I have already heard lot of C
    > compiler variants including ANSI, C9X, Borland etc. Could somebody
    > complete the list.


    ANSI and C9X aren't compilers, for a start.

    ANSI is the American National Standards Institute, which standardised C
    in 1989. For short, we call that C Standard "C89", but it's a standard,
    not a compiler. ISO (the International Standards Organisation) adopted
    that standard the following year, which is why we also refer to "C90".
    "C9X" was the great upgrade-to-C project which finally resulted in a
    modification to the Standard (the X was used because they didn't know
    when they'd finish). This has become known as C99, since it was
    eventually released in 1999. (There was a minor update in 1995 too,
    which some people ignore and others know as C95.)

    To list all the C compilers is a task beyond my ability to answer, but
    the principal serious contenders are gcc in its many flavours,
    Microsoft C, and Borland C. C/370 and perhaps LE370 for the mainframe
    market, Norcroft for embedded systems. Dozens more, though.

    All these compilers (as far as I know, anyway) conform to the ANSI C
    Standard of 1989 - and *therefore* the ISO C Standard of 1990 (since
    it's the same document, just with different section numbering because
    ISO added a few lumps of boilerplate to the beginning).

    None of them, as far as I know, conform to C99. There are one or two
    conforming C99 compilers out there, but nobody I know actually uses
    one. C99 conformance is not high on the implementation agenda, and is
    unlikely to become so.


    > Which compiler is the most versatile and largely used ? I am using gcc
    > on Ubuntu as I don't have access to any other ones.


    gcc is fine.

    > Can sombody throw light on how the journey of C has changed from K&R
    > times to now.


    See above for a quick precis, or take a peek at
    http://www.cs.bell-labs.com/who/dmr/ for some background on C.

    --
    Richard Heathfield
    "Usenet is a strange place" - dmr 29/7/1999
    http://www.cpax.org.uk
    email: rjh at the above domain, - www.
    Richard Heathfield, Feb 20, 2007
    #2
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