Clang is able to be used instead of gcc? What your experience on that? What disadvantages there are yet?

Performance of compilation is very better than gcc but about performance of code generated when executing it?

Are there good tools as front-end (IDE) to run on Linux or Windows?

EDIT: I mean C compiler. C++ it's not so good yet.

3 Answers 3


Update: Now (2013) Clang is ready for prime time and used by some companies like Google. However it is not totally usable on Windows, work on this platform is a "work in progress". LLVM/Clang is currently the default compilator on MacOSX/XCode but it's not exactly the same releases than the LLVM ones so beware of the minor differences (mostly difference of version numbers).

Well following the clang dev mailing list, recently the trunk version have been successfully building :

  • the linux kernel (a recent revision)
  • Qt (with it's special build process too, apparently)
  • Chromium (a recent revision)

So, I would say that the coming version (2.9) might be a good "ready for prime time" compiler.

However, if your project have a a planning and budget, maybe it's not a good idea to try a compiler that isn't heavily tested yet. If you're allowed to experiment and provide feedbacks to the Clang developers community, then go for it, it's win-win for everybody. If not, maybe you should use a mature-and-heavily-used compiler like gcc (in its recent versions) to have a "stable ground" to rely on while working on your project.

  • Just to complementation, it's not a professional project... yet, it's almost a 20% work-time project.
    – Maniero
    Nov 9, 2010 at 19:01
  • I would have tried clang on a non-professional cross-platform project. In fact that's what I'm trying right now.
    – Klaim
    Nov 9, 2010 at 21:08
  • Thanks. My concern is about the future of project. I will start as an experiment but I wish to do more than that soon.
    – Maniero
    Nov 9, 2010 at 22:18
  • If it's a long-run project, it might beneficat from CLang once it's stable, correct, optimized and full-C++0x featured (if you use c++). Because it's target is to be the faster compiler out there and apparently, it already is. And it's important.
    – Klaim
    Nov 9, 2010 at 22:54
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    Clang is also building iOS, Xcode, and pretty much everything Apple is shipping. May 28, 2013 at 9:55

Well, it's certainly ready for primetime on Mac OS X, as many Mac OS X apps are compiled using clang. But even on other platforms, C support is pretty solid, and the team has made great strides with C++ support.

Generally speaking, clang compiles code faster than gcc, but gcc generates better-optimized code. (There are edge cases where this isn't true, but in general, that's the current status.)

  • I see the same problem, Clang is too tied to MacOS/BSD yet.
    – Maniero
    Nov 9, 2010 at 19:03
  • I tried CLang on Windows 7 and it worked correctly. I tried it on Ubuntu too. I think your information is not up to date, but that's logic as a lot of cross-platform fixes effort have been put in the last months. So maybe it will not be so mac-centric once the next version is out.
    – Klaim
    Nov 9, 2010 at 21:06
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    @Klaim: I'm not saying about Clang per se, but the whole ecosystem. I tried some things on Win7 whiteout problems, but just the compiler on cli.
    – Maniero
    Nov 9, 2010 at 22:15
  • I've found that Clang created a faster binary than GCC for my project. It's worth at least trying it out. Nov 9, 2010 at 23:01
  • Also, is the default compiler now for iOS.
    – mamcx
    Oct 1, 2012 at 18:02

You shouldn't really depend on a specific compiler unless you really need to. So you should be able to change the compiler at a Makefile or something and everything should work well.

Here I use mainly clang for my toy projects, because it is faster, and much more important: its error messages are so damned clearer. But when I need to use gdb, I compile with gcc and -ggdb. So clang isn't feature complete yet, and couldn't be my sole compiler.

(BTW: I'm on x86 gentoo, and the projects are in C and C++)

edit: to clarify, clang runs faster (in some cases, much faster). I don't care about fancy optimizations.

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