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commercial c compilers vs free c compilers

 
 
geletine
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      07-02-2006
what are the benefits in using commercial compilers like intel,
greenhill or portland compared to free c compiles like gcc, lcc, tcc,
TenDRA, sun and others?

 
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Tim Prince
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      07-02-2006
geletine wrote:
> what are the benefits in using commercial compilers like intel,
> greenhill or portland compared to free c compiles like gcc, lcc, tcc,
> TenDRA, sun and others?
>

<mostly non-topical> As we have no idea of your interests, potential
benefits may not be meaningful in your projects.
More than one of these commercial compilers is more efficient about
vectorization, although gcc is closing the gap.
<totally OT>There are more Windows style extensions in commercial
compilers, some supported on linux as well. Your chances of getting
help on those are limited to the vendors' support arrangements.
Commercial compilers incur certain obligations to support you in problem
resolution; for some of the free compilers, you could enter into a
support contract which might be more effective. Short of that,
depending on the community may or may not get you quick assistance.
 
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Malcolm
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      07-02-2006
"geletine" <(E-Mail Removed)> wrote
> what are the benefits in using commercial compilers like intel,
> greenhill or portland compared to free c compiles like gcc, lcc, tcc,
> TenDRA, sun and others?
>

I use a commerical Microsoft compiler at home, because I need the libraries
and the tools to write GUI programs.
I use free compilers at the university because I don't do much graphical
programming, everything has to be portable, and a lot of academic code is
released to compile under GNU.

There are many considerations, such as efficiency of source, quality of
tools, whether the compiler vendor is legally liable for problems in the
compiler, support. The cost of buying the compiler is just one of these
factors, and often not a very important one.
--
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$1.25 download or $7.20 paper, available www.lulu.com/bgy1mm


 
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Ian Collins
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      07-02-2006
geletine wrote:
> what are the benefits in using commercial compilers like intel,
> greenhill or portland compared to free c compiles like gcc, lcc, tcc,
> TenDRA, sun and others?
>

As other have said, it depends on you circumstances.

I used a commercial compiler (Sun, now free) because I preferred the
tools and performance improvements it provides.

Support is another strong driver for commercial products.

--
Ian Collins.
 
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geletine
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      07-02-2006
interesting points, i was too vague , i will be programming mostly
command line apps, the odd bit of gtk or qt gui programs on unix type
systems, looking at ghs markets from their website, the companies all
seem financially capable of buying ghs products, so ghs prices there
products accordingly, there seem to be concentrated on embedded
devices, which i am sure gcc is quite scalable, i know its not the
fastest c compiler,as already mentioned in this thread, but gcc does
accept inline asm. It would be interesting to see what critical
software has been compiled with gcc, out of curosity. Portland and
intel on the other hand seem to cater for the opposite crowd.

Intel have the advantage that they created the chips for which their
compilers are to be used, so i expect them to be the fastest, if their
compilers are intel centric, that means there won;t be any real benifit
to amd users..

thanks

 
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Stephen Sprunk
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      07-02-2006
"geletine" <(E-Mail Removed)> wrote in message
news:(E-Mail Removed) oups.com...
> interesting points, i was too vague , i will be programming mostly
> command line apps, the odd bit of gtk or qt gui programs on unix type
> systems, looking at ghs markets from their website, the companies all
> seem financially capable of buying ghs products, so ghs prices there
> products accordingly, there seem to be concentrated on embedded
> devices, which i am sure gcc is quite scalable, i know its not the
> fastest c compiler,as already mentioned in this thread, but gcc does
> accept inline asm.


If GCC is adequate for your needs, then you should consider the performance
differences, the peripheral tools provided, and the cost of a support
contract vs. using Cygnus for GCC. Like many things in life, a product with
a lower acquisition cost can cost you a lot more in the end -- or it can be
a great deal.

If you need your code to work on several different architectures, you're
going to have a hard time finding any compiler that handles that as well as
GCC, even though it's rarely the best available on any one particular
platform. If you only care about one platform (and are sure you'll never
need to port your code), GCC is probably not your best bet.

> It would be interesting to see what critical software has been compiled
> with gcc, out of curosity. Portland and intel on the other hand seem
> to cater for the opposite crowd.


"Critical" is, of course, in the eyes of the beholder. Virtually all of the
critical Internet infrastructure is compiled with GCC, from web servers to
email servers to DNS servers and all the way down to the routers that move
all the bits around. It's only on the desktop and corporate server farms
that you find much stuff compiled with other compilers.

(Note that I don't know for sure about marketshare for embedded stuff, but
Cygnus makes their money porting and supporting GCC for embedded systems,
and every company I've worked at uses GCC for their embedded products)

> Intel have the advantage that they created the chips for which their
> compilers are to be used, so i expect them to be the fastest, if their
> compilers are intel centric, that means there won;t be any real benifit
> to amd users..


It's been well documented that Intel's compilers emit code that tests what
brand of chip you're using and selects a significantly slower code path for
non-Intel chips. If you patch that test out of your executables, they
typically run significantly faster on AMD chips than on Intel ones --
despite being optimized only for Intel's chips.

S

--
Stephen Sprunk "Stupid people surround themselves with smart
CCIE #3723 people. Smart people surround themselves with
K5SSS smart people who disagree with them." --Aaron Sorkin


--
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Morris Dovey
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      07-02-2006
geletine (in (E-Mail Removed). com)
said:

| It would be interesting to see what critical software has been
compiled with
| gcc, out of curosity.

I've written C used to control multicast networking for a stock
exchange, participated in development of a SoC cable modem product
(first order received was for 10000000 units!), and participated in
development of firmware for household appliances for a manufacturer
whose claim to fame was product reliability - all using gcc.

| Intel have the advantage that they created the chips for which their
| compilers are to be used, so i expect them to be the fastest, if
| their compilers are intel centric, that means there won;t be any
| real benifit to amd users..

I'm unclear as to whether you're referring to compiler speed or speed
of execution of the compiled program. I've never much worried about
compiler speed; and gcc does a decent job of producing fast, compact
executables.

Performance (on both sides) seems more dependent on the expertise of
toolchain producer than on anything else.

A long time ago I wrote several thousand line program in Fortran that
had horrible spaghetti execution paths (with computed goto's,
arithmetic if, logical if, fuctions, etc) and did quite a bit of real,
integer, and mixed mode calculation - all to produce a single
one-digit numeric result. The compiler churned away for more than a
half hour and emitted three lines of assembly code. The first line did
a load register immediate with '7' (0x37, the correct result in
character form), the second line did a _branch_ to the resident
printer output routine, and the third line was 'END'. The program
would, as you might expect, exit when the printer routine executed its
RET instruction; and the system would flush the print buffer
automatically.

Would you call that a fast compiler or a slow compiler? [ It was DG
Fortran 5 if you're curious. ]

--
Morris Dovey
DeSoto Solar
DeSoto, Iowa USA
http://www.iedu.com/DeSoto


 
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=?ISO-8859-1?Q?=22Nils_O=2E_Sel=E5sdal=22?=
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      07-03-2006
geletine wrote:
> interesting points, i was too vague , i will be programming mostly
> command line apps, the odd bit of gtk or qt gui programs on unix type
> systems, looking at ghs markets from their website, the companies all
> seem financially capable of buying ghs products, so ghs prices there
> products accordingly, there seem to be concentrated on embedded
> devices, which i am sure gcc is quite scalable, i know its not the
> fastest c compiler,as already mentioned in this thread, but gcc does

These days, on x86, gcc is /fast/.

> accept inline asm. It would be interesting to see what critical
> software has been compiled with gcc, out of curosity. Portland and
> intel on the other hand seem to cater for the opposite crowd.


All of linux and the BSDs are compiled with gcc - meaning "all"
the critical database,mail,web servers are compiled with gcc.

I know quite a few telecom systems running on said OSs that's
compiled with gcc too.
 
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Richard Heathfield
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      07-03-2006
geletine said:

> what are the benefits in using commercial compilers like intel,
> greenhill or portland compared to free c compiles like gcc, lcc, tcc,
> TenDRA, sun and others?


The usual arguments are "support" and "liability". In practice, you're very
unlikely to be able to make a liability claim stick. As for support, well,
call me Mr Cynical if you like but I have not noticed a huge level of
support for commercial compilers over and above that of free compilers.
Indeed, gcc is probably /better/ supported than Visual C, in terms of the
average speed of problem resolution.

--
Richard Heathfield
"Usenet is a strange place" - dmr 29/7/1999
http://www.cpax.org.uk
email: rjh at above domain (but drop the www, obviously)
 
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=?ISO-8859-1?Q?=22Nils_O=2E_Sel=E5sdal=22?=
Guest
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      07-03-2006
Nils O. Selåsdal wrote:
> geletine wrote:
>> interesting points, i was too vague , i will be programming mostly
>> command line apps, the odd bit of gtk or qt gui programs on unix type
>> systems, looking at ghs markets from their website, the companies all
>> seem financially capable of buying ghs products, so ghs prices there
>> products accordingly, there seem to be concentrated on embedded
>> devices, which i am sure gcc is quite scalable, i know its not the
>> fastest c compiler,as already mentioned in this thread, but gcc does

> These days, on x86, gcc is /fast/.

I should perhaps add that a optimizing compiler is no substitute
for a good programmer - and often it's the speed of the programmer that
matters
 
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