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.
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 Collection||The standard compiler for most Unix-like operating systems|
|AOCC||AMD Optimizing C/C++ Compiler|
|ispc||Intel SPMD Program Compiler|
|LLVM||Low-Level Virtual Machine (LLVM) compiler for C/C++|
|Glasgow Haskell Compiler||An optimizing compiler for Haskell, written in Haskell|
|clang||C Language Family Frontend for LLVM|
|CHICKEN||Compiler for the Scheme programming language|
|FreeBASIC||32-bit BASIC compiler|
|Bigloo||Practical Scheme compiler|
|Free Pascal||Advanced Pascal compiler for Pascal and Object Pascal|
Read our complete collection of recommended free and open source software. The collection covers all categories of software.
The software collection forms part of our series of informative articles for Linux enthusiasts. There's tons of in-depth reviews, open source alternatives to proprietary software from large corporations like Google, Microsoft, Apple, Adobe, Corel, and Autodesk. There are also fun things to try, hardware, free programming books and tutorials, and much more.