[RFC] minimum gcc version for kernel: raise to gcc-4.3 or 4.6?

Kees Cook keescook at chromium.org
Thu Apr 20 15:52:18 EDT 2017

On Thu, Apr 20, 2017 at 3:15 AM, Arnd Bergmann <arnd at arndb.de> wrote:
> On Sun, Apr 16, 2017 at 9:52 PM, Kees Cook <keescook at chromium.org> wrote:
>>>> The original gcc-4.3 release was in early 2008. If we decide to still
>>>> support that, we probably want the first 10 quirks in this series,
>>>> while gcc-4.6 (released in 2011) requires none of them.
>> I'd be in support of raising the minimum to gcc 4.6. (I'd actually
>> prefer 4.7, just to avoid some 4.6 packaging issues, and for better
>> gcc plugin support.)
>> I'm curious what gcc 4.6 binaries are common in the wild besides
>> old-stable Debian (unsupported in maybe a year from now?) and 12.04
>> Ubuntu (going fully unsupported in 2 weeks). It looks like 4.6 was
>> used only in Fedora 15 and 16 (both EOL).
> I think we are better off defining two versions: One that we know
> a lot of people care about, and we actively try to make that work
> well in all configurations (e.g. 4.6, 4.7 or 4.8), fixing all warnings
> we run into, and an older version that we try not to break
> intentionally (e.g. 3.4, 4.1 or 4.3) but that we only fix when
> someone actually runs into a problem they can't work around
> by upgrading to a more modern compiler.

For "working well everywhere" I feel like 4.8 is the better of those
three (I'd prefer 4.9). I think we should avoid 4.6 -- it seems not
widely used.

For an old compiler... yikes. 3.4 sounds insane to me. :)


Kees Cook
Pixel Security

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