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Edited March, 1994 by Roland Pesch (pesch@cygnus.com) Copyright (C) 1992, 1993, 1994 Free Software Foundation, Inc.

Permission is granted to make and distribute verbatim copies of this manual provided the copyright notice and this permission notice are preserved on all copies.

Permission is granted to copy and distribute modified versions of this manual under the conditions for verbatim copying, provided also that the entire resulting derived work is distributed under the terms of a permission notice identical to this one.

Permission is granted to copy and distribute translations of this manual into another language, under the above conditions for modified versions.


As you may remember, GNU C++ was the first native-code C++ compiler available under Unix (December 1987). In November 1988, it was judged superior to the AT&T compiler in a Unix World review. In 1990 it won a Sun Observer "Best-Of" award. But now, with new requirements coming out of the ANSI C++ committee and a growing backlog of bugs, it's clear that GNU C++ needs an overhaul.

The C++ language has been under development since 1982. It has evolved significantly since its original incarnation (C with Classes), addressing many commercial needs and incorporating many lessons learned as more and more people started using "object-oriented" programming techniques. In 1989, the first X3J16 committee meeting was held in Washington DC; in the interest of users, C++ was going to be standardized.

As C++ has become more popular, more demands have been placed on its compilers. Some compilers are up to the demands, others are not. GNU C++ was used to prototype several features which have since been incorporated into the standard, most notably exception handling. While GNU C++ has been an excellent experimental vehicle, it did not have the resources that AT&T, Borland, or Microsoft have at their disposal.

We believe that GNU C++ is an important compiler, providing users with many of the features that have made GNU C so popular: fast compilation, good error messages, innovative features, and full sources that may be freely redistributed. The purpose of this overhaul, dubbed the GNU C++ Renovation Project, is to take advantage of the functionality that GNU C++ offers today, to strengthen its base technology, and put it in a position to remain--as other GNU software currently is--the technical leader in the field.

This release represents the latest phase of work in strengthening the compiler on a variety of points. It includes many months of work concentrated on fixing many of the more egregious bugs that presented themselves in the compiler recently. In the coming months, we hope to continue expanding and enhancing the quality and dependability of the industry's only freely redistributable C++ compiler.

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