A Pragmatic Decision

(The following appears in the March 1988 UNIX Review magazine, in a comparative review of C compilers. The version of gcc that they tested in the article was 1.17, but you can still find the code they mention in gcc 1.40, in cccp.c.)

GCC’s early handling of the ANSI #pragma construct is perhaps worth noting at this point. Compiler writers are at liberty to deal with #pragma as they see fit. Paul Rubin, in a bit of whimsy, chose to start running the Tower-of-Hanoi game under emacs. Where this was impossible, a session of the hack game was attempted. Failing that, a rogue session was attempted. When all of these efforts failed, the compiler printed the error message: “You are in a maze of twisty compiler features, all different”.

More recent versions of GCC have this code disabled, however, and #pragma directives now are simply ignored. The original code is still distributed, though, for those who prefer it.


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