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I have worked a little while with the Microsoft compiler from Visual C++ but I worked a long time with G++, and I remember often having bad times understanding what was wrong in my code with the former.

Beside binary code generation and optimisation, I think this is a very important feature of a C++ compiler: giving the programmer a clue that makes him understand as fast as possible what is wrong with his/her code. I can understand some programmers understand programming as some sort of "competition" to make less errors, but to me that's a counter productive opinion.

I once tried Clang compiler for C from the LLVM thingie, I didn't use it for a long time, but I was impressed on how explicit and easy to understand the error messages were.

What are your experiences, and how do you think this matters ?

Some WIP of C++ Clang: http://clang.llvm.org/cxx_status.html