Monday, March 20, 2006


SmartEiffel and tcc

The tiny C compiler, tcc, is a streamlined compiler that is blisteringly fast - it can compile the Linux kernel in ten seconds, for example!

For some years, the SmartEiffel installer has supported tcc as a back-end C compiler. Philippe Ribet recently timed the compilation of C code produced by SmartEiffel, using tcc and a number of versions of gcc.

Although gcc performance increased threefold between versions 3.2 and 3.3, tcc was ten times faster still, taking 2.6 seconds to compile the test file versus 25.64 seconds for gcc 4.0. Damian Dobroczyński confirmed that the performance of tcc was "incredible indeed", although the execution speed of the compiled executable was about 25% slower. Damian wrote:
I'm very interested in tcc as a compiler used to every-day developement, but IMHO the final product should be compiled under gcc
There's one problem though. Although the combination of SmartEiffel/tcc worked well in the past, current versions are generating an error (a value exceeding the integer range). Philippe doesn't know whether this is due to a change in tcc or SmartEiffel.

If anyone is looking for a small self-contained task by which they can contribute to the Eiffel community, tracking down the source of this problem would be most useful. Philippe Ribet writes:
If someone is interested in investigating this problem, I can provide some help.

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