This article is from the Frequently Asked Questions for Linux, the Free/Open Source UNIX-like operating system kernel that runs on many modern computer systems. Maintained by David C. Merrill with numerous contributions by others. (v1.0).
A: Most Linux software is written in C and compiled with the GNU C compiler. GCC is a part of every Linux distribution. The latest compiler version, documentation, and patches are on ftp://ftp.gnu.org/pub/gnu/.
Programs that are written in C++ must be compiled with the GNU G++ compiler, which is also included in Linux distributions and available from the same place as GCC.
To build version 2.0.x kernels, you will need GCC version 2.7.2.x, approximately. Trying to build an early Linux kernel with a different compiler, like GCC 2.8.x, EGCS, or PGCC, may cause problems because of GCC related code dependencies. Kernel versions 2.2, 2.4, and the 2.5 development kernels should compile correctly with more recent compilers.
Information on the EGCS compiler is at http://www.gnu.org/software/gcc/ gcc.html.
Note that at this time, the kernel developers are not answering bug requests for earlier kernels, but instead are concentrating on developing 2.5.x version kernels and maintaining 2.2.x and 2.4.x version kernels.
[J.H.M. Dassen, Axel Boldt]