Tuesday, April 8, 2008

GNU Gold Linker

Ian Lance Taylor has announced a new ELF linker available now as part of GNU binutils. It is not yet part of an official binutils release but is available from the binutils CVS repository. The main feature of the new linker is that it is much faster for linking large C++ binaries. We've been using it internally at Google with great results for large projects.

Currently there is little documentation and few platforms are supported, but if you are experienced working with GNU Autoconf it would be great to submit some patches and get Gold working on FreeBSD.

In the longer term I'd like to see a devel/binutils-devel port and support in bsd.port.mk so that any port from the ports collection can be built with Gold instead of the default binutils ld from the base system. It would be particularly interesting to see benchmarks for the total build time of KDE, OpenOffice, Gnome, Mozilla, etc. on FreeBSD-CURRENT with Gold.

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