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From: oz...@sanger.chem.nd.edu (Hierophant)
Newsgroups: comp.os.linux
Subject: Application Binary Interface
Summary: Let's do it
Message-ID: <1993Apr30.192859.4305@news.nd.edu>
Date: 30 Apr 93 19:28:59 GMT
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Organization: University of Notre Dame
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Having seen the recent announcement that a consortium of MIPS vendors have
decided to standardize on an Application Binary Interface (ABI) which would
allow portability of binaries across various MIPS-based workstations, it
occurs to me that perhaps the "vendors" of the various "free" operating
systems (Linux, 386BSD/BSD386, Mach?) should pursue a similar initiative.
Initially this would involve standardization on the 386/486 platform; when
there is enough work done on the 680x0, an ABI could be created for it as
well. This would have the benefit of making binaries portable across the
various 386-based free operating systems while also presenting a unified
front to mainstream industry, which might turn out to be much more valuable
than the portability issue.

I don't normally read this group (though I do follow the 680x0 channel on
the mailing list), but I thought I'd throw this out there...
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Newsgroups: comp.os.linux
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From: d...@oea.hobby.nl (Dan Naas)
Subject: Re: Application Binary Interface
Organization: Hobbynet
Date: Mon, 3 May 1993 11:32:45 GMT
Message-ID: <C6G82n.6o@oea.hobby.nl>
References: <1993Apr30.192859.4305@news.nd.edu>
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Hierophant (oz...@sanger.chem.nd.edu) wrote:
: Having seen the recent announcement that a consortium of MIPS vendors have
: agreed to standardize on an Application Binary Interface (ABI) which would
: allow portability of binaries across various MIPS-based workstations, it
: occurs to me that perhaps the "vendors" of the various "free" operating
: systems (Linux, 386BSD/BSD386, Mach?) should pursue a similar initiative.
: Initially this would involve standardization on the 386/486 platform; when
: there is enough work done on the 680x0, an ABI could be created for it as
: well. This would have the benefit of making binaries portable across the
: various 386-based free operating systems while also presenting a unified
: front to mainstream industry, which might turn out to be much more valuable
: than the portability issue.

	Well, such a standard already exists! It is called iBCS2 (INTeL386
Family Binary Compatibility Specification 2) and it "defines a system inter-
face for compiled application programs. Its purpose is to establish a standard
binary interface for application programs on systems that implement the
interfaces defined in System V Interface Definition, Issue 2." I don't know
if Linux developers are adhereing to this spec or not.

	In a similar vain, I'm curious as to the choice of executable file
format for Linux. Was it debated or was it sometthing that just happened?
It seems that the COFF and its its derivatives are gaining wide acceptance
these days, while the a.out format is becoming obsolete.

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Newsgroups: comp.os.linux
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ra!tantalus.nrl.navy.mil!eric
From: e...@tantalus.nrl.navy.mil (Eric Youngdale)
Subject: Re: Application Binary Interface
Message-ID: <C6IBnA.Hyz@ra.nrl.navy.mil>
Sender: use...@ra.nrl.navy.mil
Organization: Naval Research Laboratory
References: <1993Apr30.192859.4305@news.nd.edu> <C6G82n.6o@oea.hobby.nl>
Date: Tue, 4 May 1993 14:45:08 GMT
Lines: 29

In article <C6G82n...@oea.hobby.nl> d...@oea.hobby.nl (Dan Naas) writes:
>Hierophant (oz...@sanger.chem.nd.edu) wrote:
>	Well, such a standard already exists! It is called iBCS2 (INTeL386
>Family Binary Compatibility Specification 2) and it "defines a system inter-
>face for compiled application programs. Its purpose is to establish a standard
>binary interface for application programs on systems that implement the
>interfaces defined in System V Interface Definition, Issue 2." I don't know
>if Linux developers are adhereing to this spec or not.

	Not yet, I would guess.

>	In a similar vain, I'm curious as to the choice of executable file
>format for Linux. Was it debated or was it sometthing that just happened?
>It seems that the COFF and its its derivatives are gaining wide acceptance
>these days, while the a.out format is becoming obsolete.

	I suppose that it was chosen because this is what the GNU binutils
supoported.  COFF used to be an add on.

	I think that in the future, we will be moving towards ELF which is the
OFF that is described in iBCS2 I believe, but there are a lot of missing pieces
that need to be supplied before this can become a reality.

-Eric

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