Working ELF GCC

Tony van der Hoff tony at
Wed Oct 8 03:23:59 PDT 2003

On 7 Oct 2003, in message <3F82A831.9000507 at>,
Nick Burrett <nick at> wrote:

> Peter Naulls wrote:
> > In message <d5a9973d4c.Tony at>
> >           Tony van der Hoff <tony at> wrote:
> > 
> > 
> > > > Continuing to support AOF/ALF if at all possible is desirable for
> > > > plenty of obvious practical reasons.  At the same time, the number of
> > > > tools that support Acorn formats and ELF together is pretty limited.
> > > > 
> > > 
> > > Agreed on the first point; in fact I would have thought it more than
> > > desirable; but rather vital. This is, after all, software for the RISC
> > > OS platform we're talking about, and I believe backward comptibility,
> > > is one of its strong points. Let's not abandon that on a crusade
> > > towards Linux.
> I'm not entirely convinced that it is vital.  I will stress that we 
> *will* maintain compatibility with AOF.  Or at least a toolset will 
> exist for the purposes of working with AOF/ALF.
Splendid; that has allayed my worries, and is really all I wanted to hear.

> My original reasons for wanting ELF support were:
> 1. Debugging symbols.  Potential to use GDB.
> 2. PIC.
> 3. Weak symbols.  I don't think the AOF implementation is a true weak 
> symbol implementation.  I have a feeling that C++ binaries will be 
> smaller in ELF than AOF because of this.
All highly laudable aims, and I'm sure that in time, I'll be grateful for the
extra functionality. (1) obviously has the greatest benefit for application
developers; I guess the benefits of other two are mainly confined to the
tools development.
> I figured that we would make two GCC releases (or one large combined GCC 
> release).  One with AOF support and one with ELF support.  People could 
> choose the desired format.
Once again, what I was hoping for...

> Upon releasing it to the wild, the decision whether to make a GCC build 
> that worked with both formats would be made by the end-users. 
> Ultimately if we produced an ELF build and nobody wanted to use it, then 
> there would be no point further developing it other than for personal 
> interest.
I suspect the effect will be that nobody will want ELF initially, but then as
any benefits become known, and any problems have work-rounds, it will
eventually become dominant. It does mean that you have to support both
formats until that time; probably several years...


Tony van der Hoff         | MailTo:tony at
Buckinghamshire, England  |

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