We will discuss some of most popular c compilers available and how to install and use.


GNU C Compiler or GCC is most widely used C compiler. GCC package can be installed in Linux platform. GCC compiler needs linker which comes with binutils package. GCC also needs libc-dev package. This package contains C library files and include files. GCC is for 32bit or 64bit platform and can be used for compilation of applications, static or dynamic libraries and device drivers. GCC package does not contain any IDE or editor and additional management tools. Users mostly use vi/vim, gedit for writing the code. Uses are required to write a shell script or a make file for compilation and linking. GDB is the package to install after this. This is the debugger for GCC.

Windows C/VC++

Windows C/C++ compiler comes from Microsoft and runs under Windows platform. This compiler can be obtained via Windows SDK, Windows DDK/WDK or via Visual Studio/Visual C++. Windows compiler can be used to compile 32bit or 64bit applications, static or dynamic libraries, component objects and device drivers. VC++ has an IDE or editor builtin and most of the work can be done with simple step-by-step wizard. Editor also has graphical icons and menus to do compilation, linking and running and debugging.

BorlandC/ TurboC

BorlandC or TurboC is for DOS platform. It may run under command prompt of Windows 95/98/XP. It may not run in Windows 7/8. This compiler can be used to generate 16bit DOS applications or BIOS code.

Borland C 5.5

This is 32bit version of c compiler from Borland. BC 5.5 compiler can be used to compile 32bit Windows applications, static or dynamic libraries, component objects etc.


MinGW, a contraction of "Minimalist GNU for Windows", is a minimalist development environment for native Microsoft Windows applications. MinGW provides a complete Open Source programming tool set which is suitable for the development of native MS-Windows applications, and which do not depend on any 3rd-party C-Runtime DLLs.

Dev C++

Bloodshed Dev-C++ is a full-featured Integrated Development Environment (IDE) for the C/C++ programming language. It uses Mingw port of GCC (GNU Compiler Collection) as it's compiler. Dev-C++ can also be used in combination with Cygwin or any other GCC based compiler.


DJGPP (DJ's GNU Programming Platform)[1] is a development suite for 386-based IBM PC compatibles which supports DOS-compatible operating systems. It is guided by DJ Delorie, who began the project in 1989. It is a port of the popular GCC compiler, as well as mostly GNU utilities such as Bash, find, tar, ls, Gawk, sed, and ld to DPMI. Languages available include C, C++, Objective-C/C++, Ada, Fortran, and Pascal.

Watcom C

Open Watcom is a project of the open source community to maintain and enhance the Watcom C, C++, and Fortran cross compilers and tools. An Open Source license from Sybase allows free commercial and non-commercial use of Open Watcom.

C for Mac/Xcode

The most recommended way to get a C compiler for your Mac is to use Xcode. This uses gcc, the popular open source C compiler. The details vary for each version of OS X. You will have to register as an apple developer to get access to these tools. In order to do these installs, you will be using Terminal to work at the command line.

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