[PATCH] Raise the minimum GCC version to 5.2

Arnd Bergmann arnd at arndb.de
Mon May 3 19:25:21 AEST 2021

On Mon, May 3, 2021 at 9:35 AM Alexander Dahl <ada at thorsis.com> wrote:
> Desktops and servers are all nice, however I just want to make you
> aware, there are embedded users forced to stick to older cross
> toolchains for different reasons as well, e.g. in industrial
> environment. :-)
> This is no show stopper for us, I just wanted to let you be aware.

Can you be more specific about what scenarios you are thinking of,
what the motivations are for using an old compiler with a new kernel
on embedded systems, and what you think a realistic maximum
time would be between compiler updates?

One scenario that I've seen previously is where user space and
kernel are built together as a source based distribution (OE, buildroot,
openwrt, ...), and the compiler is picked to match the original sources
of the user space because that is best tested, but the same compiler
then gets used to build the kernel as well because that is the default
in the build environment.

There are two problems I see with this logic:

- Running the latest kernel to avoid security problems is of course
  a good idea, but if one runs that with ten year old user space that
  is never updated, the system is likely to end up just as insecure.
  Not all bugs are in the kernel.

- The same logic that applies to ancient user space staying with
  an ancient compiler (it's better tested in this combination) also
  applies to the kernel: running the latest kernel on an old compiler
  is something that few people test, and tends to run into more bugs
  than using the compiler that other developers used to test that


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