11 Best Free Linux Compilers

Last Updated on May 25, 2022

A compiler is software that transforms source code written in a computer language (the source language) into another computer language (the target language, often having a binary form known as object code).

Typically, a programmer writes language statements in a language such as C or C++ using an editor. The programmer then runs the appropriate language compiler, which analyzes the language statements and turns them into machine code that the processor can execute.

Many coders learn to code using a text editor but in time they move towards using an Integrated Development Environment (IDE) as this type of software application makes the art of coding quicker and more efficient. For example, IDEs have semantic knowledge of the programming language which highlights coding problems while typing. Compiling is ‘on the fly’ and debugging is integrated. Our article titled 21 Best Free Linux Integrated Development Environments selects the best Linux IDEs.

The GNU Compiler Collection (which includes C, C++, Objective-C, Fortran, and Ada compilers) is one of the most important tools for the creation of free software, and naturally takes pride of place in this article. However, Linux has a diverse range of other compilers available, many of which are released under freely distributable licenses.

Compiler Software

To provide an insight into the quality of software that is available, we have compiled a list of 11 top free Linux compilers. Hopefully, there will be something of interest here for anyone who wants to transform source code into another computer language.

Now, let’s explore the 11 compilers at hand. For each title we have compiled its own portal page, a full description with an in-depth analysis of its features, together with links to relevant resources.

GNU Compiler CollectionThe standard compiler for most Unix-like operating systems
AOCCAMD Optimizing C/C++ Compiler
ispcIntel SPMD Program Compiler
LLVMLow-Level Virtual Machine (LLVM) compiler for C/C++
Glasgow Haskell CompilerAn optimizing compiler for Haskell, written in Haskell
clangC Language Family Frontend for LLVM
BabelJavaScript compiler - use next generation JavaScript
CHICKENCompiler for the Scheme programming language
FreeBASIC32-bit BASIC compiler
BiglooPractical Scheme compiler
Free PascalAdvanced Pascal compiler for Pascal and Object Pascal
Best Free and Open Source SoftwareRead our complete collection of recommended free and open source software. Our curated compilation covers all categories of software.

The software collection forms part of our series of informative articles for Linux enthusiasts. There are hundreds of in-depth reviews, open source alternatives to proprietary software from large corporations like Google, Microsoft, Apple, Adobe, IBM, Cisco, Oracle, and Autodesk.

There are also fun things to try, hardware, free programming books and tutorials, and much more.
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4 years ago

I might have included V or V-lang. It is remarkably fast, results in faster execution code, and surprisingly complete.

Harry James
Harry James
4 years ago
Reply to  wpeckham

V is far too niche.

2 years ago
Reply to  Harry James

Which V are you thinking about? Because I think he meant At least 26.000 people have seen it. As seen on the stars of the github repo.

4 years ago

what about MUSL?

Jacob R
Jacob R
4 years ago

Not sure what you’re referring to, as musl is a C standard library implementation.