Recently I have began to wonder when developers should pay for compilers. Compilers come for free with most platforms or there is a free version easily obtainable.
OS X - GCC and Clang/LLVM come with the developer tools. No limitations here for how and what you can turn out with them.
Linux - GCC and I am sure more. I dont know the current state of linux compilers. No limitations here for how and what you can turn out with them.
Windows - MinGW and Microsoft does offer a free version of Visual Studio. No limitations with MinGW but I think with the free Visual Studio there are severe limitations.
However, as an example, Intel produces C/C++ compilers. They are hefty in price. Educationally I think that one can get the OS X version for $49 and Windows/Linux for $129 each. They then offer a complete "Studio" product too. Obviously using the educational pricing there are imposed limitations.
But what I am wondering is when should one really considering paying for compilers. One example I can think of is a video game. If you are using a compiler that works on the major platforms there would be no more switching tools for the platform. It seems there would be a level of ease in switching among platforms if the tools were the same.
Can anyone shed some light on paying for compilers like the Intel compilers and the true cross-platform benefits one might get from using them? Does one's code become less portable even trying very hard to not do platform specific techniques?