RoboAlex RoboAlex - 3 months ago 31
Linux Question

How to change the default GCC compiler in Ubuntu?

I have installed gcc-3.3/g++-3.3 on ubuntu 11.04 which already has gcc/g++-4.4. So in my system both gcc-3.3 and 4.4 are available. I am able to call both compilers as I want. If I just call the command

gcc
then gcc-4.4 will get called. To call gcc-3.3, I have to use the command
gcc-3.3
.

How can I change the default compiler as gcc-3.3? When I execute the command
gcc
it should call the gcc-3.3 and not gcc-4.4.

In addition, how can I change the variable CXX in a make file to gcc-3.3? I wish to change one common global place in the system instead of changing all make files.

Answer

As @Tommy suggested, you should use update-alternatives.
It assigns values to every software of a family, so that it defines the order in which the applications will be called.

It is used to maintain different versions of the same software on a system. In your case, you will be able to use several declinations of gcc, and one will be favoured.

To figure out the current priorities of gcc, type in the command pointed out by @tripleee's comment:

update-alternatives --query gcc

Now, note the priority attributed to gcc-4.4 because you'll need to give a higher one to gcc-3.3.
To set your alternatives, you should have something like this (assuming your gcc installation is located at /usr/bin/gcc-3.3, and gcc-4.4's priority is less than 50):

update-alternatives --install /usr/bin/gcc gcc /usr/bin/gcc-3.3 50

--edit--

Finally, you can also use the interactive interface of update-alternatives to easily switch between versions. Type update-alternatives --config gcc to be asked to choose the gcc version you want to use among those installed.

--edit 2 --

Now, to fix the CXX environment variable systemwide, you need to put the line indicated by @DipSwitch's in your .bashrc file (this will apply the change only for your user, which is safer in my opinion):

echo 'export CXX=/usr/bin/gcc-3.3' >> ~/.bashrc