What is the reason for llvm-gcc? Will regular gcc work
(except for the releases that are broken, of course)?
No one can tell the answer to this question ... because the
answer depends on what you're up to.
LLVM itself is frontend agnostic. It itself starts from a
low-level, assembly like, but SSA-formed language. See
LLVM Language Reference Manual — LLVM 16.0.0git documentation.
Mangling objects in this language are a bunch of analyzers and
optimizers, http://www.llvm.org/docs/Passes.html. And finally,
there are a bunch of various backends that generate
assembly-language ... to JIT or to link as a standalong
Now, how do you get this Low-Level-Language? For one, you can
write it by hand. Many test-case in the LLVM framework have been
written by hand, see all the *.ll file at
Or you can use a compiler. llvm-gcc is just one of the possible
compilers. It uses gcc to parse C, C++, produces gimple, like
gcc normally does. But then the gimple is converted to the LLVM
low-level language and handed over to LLVM.
There are other frontends, e.g. "clang", which aims to be a
faster and less-resource-hungry compiler (or, compiler library,
e.g. easy to include/link into an IDE). Or I have heard about a
compiler for the "D" language to LLVM, see
ldc - D Programming Language - Trac. There's an examply
forth-link front page ... and so on.
Does llvm in any way depend on features of llvm-gcc instead of
Now you might realize that this question doesn't really make
Or is it optional?
Again, this depends. If you want to compile/optimize C++ via
llvm, you need llvm-g++, so it's not optional. But for some C
programs, clang migth already be usable (yet it's highly
experimental). If it's needed for your needs ... who knows,