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26 October 2009, 10:06

LLVM 2.6 - Now with production ready CLANG

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Source: The LLVM Project
LLVM 2.6 has been announced by the LLVM developers. LLVM (Low Level Virtual Machine) is a compiler infrastructure; a combination of virtual instruction set and compilation tools that allow programs to be compiled to an intermediate format and then converted into executable code at run-time. Version 2.6 is the result of around six months development and the most important feature of this release is a public release of CLANG, the compiler for LLWM which, according to the announcement, is "production quality" for C and Objective-C compilation on x86 based systems. According to the developers, CLANG produces better error messages and warnings than GCC and can compile Objective-C three times faster than GCC 4.2. However, this doesn't mean that the LLVM project is ignoring GCC; a new sub-project, DragonEgg, is a llvm-gcc plug-in for GCC 4.5.

For Intel/AMD x86 developers, the new release includes improved X86-64 code generation and support for SSE 4.2. ARM developers will find LLVM now supports ARM V7, including the Thumb2 and NEON instruction formats. More generally, improvements such as link-time optimisations for ELF systems, new code generators for MSP430, SystemZ and BlackFin architectures, support for multi-threaded code generation and optimisation and OProfile support for the just in time compiler, have been added.

The announcement of LLVM 2.6 also drew attention to some of the applications that allow developers to use LLVM, such as Rubinus and MacRuby (Ruby implementations), Unladen Swallow (Python implementations), the Roadsend PHP compiler and other languages, such as D and Lua with LLVM support.

LLVM 2.6 is available to download and is licensed under the University of Illinois/NCSA Open Source Licence. The release notes give more details on the changes in the new release.


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