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PGCC: The Pentium Compiler

Before ending this chapter, it is worthwhile mentioning another, lesser known compiler, pgcc, the Pentium GCC. Maintained by the Pentium Compiler Group (http://www.goof.com/pcg/), pgcc was created to address the different optimization features of the Pentium processor architecture at a time when GCC did a poor job of Pentium-specific optimization. While it does represent a fork in GCC's code base, the maintainers closely track GCC's releases. In fact, pgcc is released as a set of patches to egcs, now the official GNU compiler.

pgcc's chief benefit is better optimization for Pentium CPUs. It was originally based on a version of GCC that a team of Intel engineers created for the Pentium. While the Intel team produced benchmarks showing a 30% improvement in certain applications, the Pentium Compiler Group cautions that a performance increase of 5% is more likely in real-world situations.

Why bother with pgcc, especially now that egcs incorporates sophisticated Pentium optimizations? Well, in the first place, you need not. This is Linux, after all, and you are free to do as you see fit. However, pgcc is used as the compiler for both the Stampede and Enoch Linux distributions, so it has some merit. It also represents an alternative to GCC. Further, it might be an interesting experiment to see if pgcc can produce faster and/or smaller binaries on your system. Finally, it could be just plain fun to play with another piece of software.

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