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+.. _programming_language:
+Programming Language
+The kernel is written in the C programming language [c-language]_.
+More precisely, the kernel is typically compiled with ``gcc`` [gcc]_
+under ``-std=gnu89`` [gcc-c-dialect-options]_: the GNU dialect of ISO C90
+(including some C99 features).
+This dialect contains many extensions to the language [gnu-extensions]_,
+and many of them are used within the kernel as a matter of course.
+There is some support for compiling the kernel with ``clang`` [clang]_
+and ``icc`` [icc]_ for several of the architectures, although at the time
+of writing it is not completed, requiring third-party patches.
+One of the common extensions used throughout the kernel are attributes
+[gcc-attribute-syntax]_. Attributes allow to introduce
+implementation-defined semantics to language entities (like variables,
+functions or types) without having to make significant syntactic changes
+to the language (e.g. adding a new keyword) [n2049]_.
+In some cases, attributes are optional (i.e. a compiler not supporting them
+should still produce proper code, even if it is slower or does not perform
+as many compile-time checks/diagnostics).
+The kernel defines pseudo-keywords (e.g. ``__pure``) instead of using
+directly the GNU attribute syntax (e.g. ``__attribute__((__pure__))``)
+in order to feature detect which ones can be used and/or to shorten the code.
+Please refer to ``include/linux/compiler_attributes.h`` for more information.
+.. [c-language] http://www.open-std.org/jtc1/sc22/wg14/www/standards
+.. [gcc] https://gcc.gnu.org
+.. [clang] https://clang.llvm.org
+.. [icc] https://software.intel.com/en-us/c-compilers
+.. [gcc-c-dialect-options] https://gcc.gnu.org/onlinedocs/gcc/C-Dialect-Options.html
+.. [gnu-extensions] https://gcc.gnu.org/onlinedocs/gcc/C-Extensions.html
+.. [gcc-attribute-syntax] https://gcc.gnu.org/onlinedocs/gcc/Attribute-Syntax.html
+.. [n2049] http://www.open-std.org/jtc1/sc22/wg14/www/docs/n2049.pdf