Re: object/load module formats (Ronald F. Guilmette)
Thu, 24 Feb 1994 10:11:04 GMT

          From comp.compilers

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Newsgroups: comp.compilers
From: (Ronald F. Guilmette)
Keywords: linker
Organization: Netcom Online Communications Services (408-241-9760 login: guest)
References: 94-02-094
Date: Thu, 24 Feb 1994 10:11:04 GMT

Shaun Wilkinson <> writes:
>We`re thinking of changing the object/load module format of our cross
>tools. Does someone know about standard/popular object/load module format
>which are suitable for our purpose? (we need their documents, license
>free.) What are the current trends in this area?

Our moderator replies:

>[SVR4 has ELF, OSF/1 has ROSE, and GNU has a souped up BSD format. Is anyone
>moving toward anything else? -John]

Actually, it is my understanding that OSF finally dropped ROSE and decided
to just go with the (ELF) flow. (I have mixed feeling about this because
I'm a big proponent of ELF and DWARF, but my good friend Mike Meissner was
the main instigator of ROSE, and I believe that ROSE had a lot of good
thought put into its design.)

All SVR4 and SVR4-based systems use the ELF format. That includes Solaris
(on both Sparc and x86) and also Novell's UnixWare. I believe that SGI
machines run SVr4 these days, so they use ELF. DG AViiONs have been
SVR4ish for a long time and thus also use ELF. I read recently that HP/UX
version 9 is using ELF also, but I haven't verified that.

All things considered, I wouldn't mind a bit if ELF became *the* standard,
and if *everybody* decided to use it. That sure as hell would cut down on
a lot of the ``wheel reinvention'' that tools people currently have to do
when porting from system to system.

To paraphrase another comment I read once (about instruction sets) "The
world needs another object file format about as much as it needs another
species of mosquito!"

P.S. Regarding the old BSD a.out format (which, I believe is basically not
much evolved from the original AT&T a.out format from a decade or more
ago) I have always harbored great hope that it will DIE, DIE, DIE...
preferably quickly. It is an antiquated and non-extensible abomination
whose time has long since passed.

  Ron Guilmette, Sunnyvale, CA ---------- RG Consulting -------------------
domain addr:
uucp addr: ...!uunet!netcom!rfg

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