Tech Insider					     Technology and Trends

			      USENET Archives

From: Daniel Barlow <>
Subject: Linux ELF HOWTO (part 1/1)
Date: 1996/08/03
Message-ID: <>
X-Deja-AN: 171918377
followup-to: poster
summary: How to install and migrate to the ELF binary file format
organization: Linux HOWTO Project
keywords: Linux, HOWTO, ELF
newsgroups: comp.os.linux.answers
nntp-posting-user: gregh

Archive-Name: linux/howto/elf
Last-modified: 2 Aug 96


*** The `Linux ELF HOWTO' is posted automatically by the
*** Linux HOWTO coordinator, Greg Hankins <>.  Please
*** direct any comments or questions about this HOWTO to the author,
*** Daniel Barlow <>.

- --- BEGIN Linux ELF HOWTO part 1/1 ---

  The Linux ELF HOWTO
  Daniel Barlow <>
  v1.29, 14 July 1996

  This document describes how to migrate your Linux system to compile
  and run programs in the ELF binary format.  It falls into three con�
  ceptual parts: (1) What ELF is, and why you should upgrade, (2) How to
  upgrade to ELF-capability, and (3) what you can do then.  After a
  fairly long fallow period in which I have been pretending to do aca�
  demic work, it has recently been overhauled to give current informa�
  tion for Linux 2.0.

  1.  What is ELF?  An introduction

  ELF (Executable and Linking Format) is a binary format originally
  developed by USL (UNIX System Laboratories) and currently used in
  Solaris and System V Release 4.  Because of its increased flexibility
  over the older a.out format that Linux previously used, the GCC and C
  library developers decided last year to move to using ELF as the Linux
  standard binary format also.

  This `increased flexibility' manifests as essentially two benefits to
  the average applications progammer:

  �  It is much simpler to make shared libraries with ELF.  Typically,
     just compile all the object files with -fPIC, then link with a
     command like

        gcc -shared -Wl,-soname, -o *.o

  If that looks complex, you obviously haven't ever read up on the
  equivalent procedure for a.out shared libraries, which involves com�
  piling the library twice, reserving space for all the data you think
  that the library is likely to require in future, and registering that
  address space with a third party (it's described in a document over 20
  pages long --- look at
  for details).

  �  It makes dynamic loading (ie programs which can load modules at
     runtime) much simpler.  This is used by Perl 5, Python, and Java,
     among other things (it's a kicker for many kinds of interpreters).
     Other suggestions for dynamic loading have included super-fast
     MUDs, where extra code could be compiled and linked into the
     running executable without having to stop and restart the program.

  Against this it must be weighed that ELF is possibly a bit slower.
  The figures that get bandied around are between 1% and 5%, though all
  the actual tests that have been conducted so far indicate that the
  difference is small enough to get lost in the noise of other events
  happening at the same time.  If you have TeX or a Postscript
  viewer/printer, you can read speed.comp-1.0.tar.gz, which is available
  from SunSite somewhere.

  The slowdown comes from the fact that ELF library code must be
  position independent (this is what the -fPIC above stands for) and so
  a register must be devoted to holding offsets.  That's one less for
  holding variables in, and the 80x86 has a paucity of general-purpose
  registers anyway.  Note that the speed difference only applies to code
  that is part of shared libraries.  For applications or kernels there
  is no speed difference between a.out and ELF.

  1.1.  What ELF isn't

  There are a number of common misconceptions about what ELF will do for
  your system:

     It's not a way to run SVR4 or Solaris programs
        Although it's the same binary `container' as SVR4 systems use,
        that doesn't mean that SVR4 programs suddenly become runnable on
        Linux.  It's analogous to a disk format --- you can keep Linux
        programs on MSDOS or Minix-format disks, and vice versa, but
        that doesn't mean that these systems become able to run each
        others' programs.

        It may be possible to run an application for another x86 Unix
        under Linux (it depends on the application), but following the
        instructions in this HOWTO will not have that effect.  Start by
        looking at the iBCS kernel module (somewhere on
        and see if it fits your needs.

     It's not intrinsically smaller or faster
        You may well end up with smaller binaries anyway, though, as you
        can more easily create shared libraries of common code between
        many programs.  In general, if you use the same compiler options
        and your binaries come out smaller than they did with a.out,
        it's more likely to be fluke or a different compiler version.
        As for `faster', I'd be surprised.  Speed increases could turn
        up if your binaries are smaller, due to less swapping or larger
        functional areas fitting in cache.

     It doesn't require that you replace every binary on your system
        At the end of this procedure you have a system capable of
        compiling and running both ELF and a.out programs.  New programs
        will by default be compiled in ELF, though this can be
        overridden with a command-line switch.  There is admittedly a
        memory penalty for running a mixed ELF/a.out system --- if you
        have both breeds of program running at once you also have two
        copies of the C library in core, and so on.  I've had reports
        that the speed difference from this is undetectable in normal
        use on a 6Mb system though (I certainly haven't noticed much in
        8Mb), so it's hardly pressing.  You lose far more memory every
        day by running bloated programs like Emacs and static
        Mosaic/Netscape binaries :-)

     It's nothing to do with Tolkien.
        Or at least, not in this context.

  1.2.  Why you should convert to ELF

  There are essentially two reasons to upgrade your system to compile
  and run ELF programs: the first is the increased flexibility in
  programming referred to above, and the second is that, due to the
  first, everyone else will (or has already).  Current releases of the C
  library and GCC are compiled only for ELF, and other developers are
  moving ELFwards too.

  Many people are concerned about stability (justifiably so, even if
  it's not so much fun).  ELF on Linux has existed since August 1994 and
  has been publically available since May or June 1995; the teething
  troubles are probably out of the way by now.  You should allow for the
  possibility of breaking things --- as you would with any major upgrade
  --- but the technology that you're upgrading to is no longer bleeding
  edge.  For a system on which any development is done, or on which you
  want to run other people's precompiled binaries, ELF is pretty much a
  necessity these days.  Plan to switch to it when you upgrade to
  version 2.0 of the kernel.

  1.3.  How to convert to ELF

  When this HOWTO was first written, there was only one way, and it was
  the way described here.  These days there are high-quality upgradable
  distributions available --- unless you have invested significant time
  in setting up your machine exactly how you like it, you might find
  that a backup of all your own data and a reinstall from a recent Red
  Hat or Debian release is more convenient than messing about with the
  assorted libraries and compilers described here.

  I must stress this.  The installation described here is a fairly small
  job in itself (it can be completed in well under an hour, excepting
  the time taken to download the new software), but there are a
  multitude of errors that you can make which will probably leave you
  with an unbootable system.  If you are not comfortable with upgrading
  shared libraries, if the commands ldconfig and  ldd mean nothing to
  you, or if you're unhappy about building packages from source code,
  you should consider the `easy option'.  Even if this description isn't
  you, think about it anyway --- if you want a `fully ELF' system,
  somebody is going to have to recompile all the binaries on it.

  Still with us?

  2.  Installation

  2.1.  Background

  The aim of this conversion is to leave you with a system which can
  build and run both a.out and ELF programs, with each type of program
  being able to find its appropriate breed of shared libraries.  This
  obviously requires a bit more intelligence in the library search
  routines than the simple `look in /lib, /usr/lib and anywhere else
  that the program was compiled to search' strategy that some other
  systems can get away with.

  This intelligence is centralised in a dynamic loader, which exists in
  only one --- or two --- places on the system.  For a.out programs,
  it's called /lib/, and for ELF programs it's /lib/
  The compiler and linker do not encode absolute library pathnames into
  the programs they output; instead they put the library name and the
  absolute path to the appropriate dynamic loader in, and leave that to
  match the library name to the appropriate place at runtime.  This has
  one very important effect --- it means that the libraries that a
  program uses can be moved to other directories  without recompiling
  the program, provided that (; whatever) is told to
  search the new directory.  This is essential functionality for the
  directory swapping operation that follows.

  The corollary of the above, of course, is that any attempt to delete
  or move or may cause every dynamically linked
  program on the system to stop working.  This is generally regarded as
  a Bad Thing.

  The basic plan, then, is that ELF development things (compilers,
  include files and libraries) go into /usr/{bin,lib,include} where your
  a.out ones currently are, and the a.out things will be moved into
  /usr/i486-linuxaout/{bin, lib, include}.  /etc/ lists all
  the places on the system where libraries are expected to be found, and
  ldconfig is intelligent enough to distinguish between ELF and a.out

  There are a couple of exceptions to the library placement:

  �  Some old programs were built without the use of  These would
     all cease working if their libraries were moved from under them.
     Thus,* and* must stay where they are in /lib, and
     the ELF versions have had their major numbers upgraded so that they
     do not overwrite the a.out ones.  Old X libraries (prior to version
     6) are best left where they are also, although newer ones
     (libX*so.6) must be moved.  Moving the old ones will apparently
     break xview programs, and not moving the new ones will cause them
     to be overwritten when you install ELF X libraries.

     If you have programs that require libraries other than
     the above (if you know which programs they are, you can run ldd on
     them to find out which libraries they need before breaking them)
     you have essentially two options.  One, you can extract the ELF
     library tar files into a temporary directory, check whether your
     precious library would be overwritten, and if so, move the ELF
     version of the library into, say, /usr/i486-linux/lib instead of
     /lib.  Make sure your has /usr/i486-linux/lib in it,
     then run ldconfig and think no more on't.  Two, you can recompile
     or acquire a newer copy of the offending program.  This might not
     be a bad idea, if possible.

  �  If you have /usr and / on different partitions, any libraries that
     you move from /lib must end up somewhere else on the root disk, not
     on /usr.  I used /lib-aout in the instructions that follow.

  2.2.  Before you start --- Notes and Caveats

  �  You will need to be running a post-1.1.52 kernel with ELF binary
     format support.  1.2.13 works.  2.0.0 (the most recent at the time
     of writing) also works, as do most of the 1.3 series, though the
     point of running old `experimental' kernels is anyway questionable
     now that 2.0 is here.

  �  You are recommended to prepare or acquire a linux boot/root disk,
     such as a Slackware rescue disk.  You probably won't need it, but
     if you do and you don't have one, you'll kick yourself.  In a
     similar `prevention is better than cure' vein, statically linked
     copies of mv, ln, and maybe other file manipulation commands
     (though in fact I think you can do everything else you actually
     need to with shell builtins) may help you out of any awkward
     situations you could end up in.

  �  If you were following the early ELF development, or you installed
     certain versions of Slackware (none of the current ones,
     admittedly) you may have ELF libraries in /lib/elf (usually and co).  Applications that you built using these should
     be rebuilt, then the directory removed.  There is no need for a
     /lib/elf directory!

  �  Most Linux installations these days have converged on the `FSSTND'
     standard file system, but doubtless there are still installed
     systems that haven't.  If you see references to /sbin/something and
     you don't have a /sbin directory, you'll probably find the program
     referred to in /bin or /etc/.  It is especially important to check
     this when you install new programs; if you have /etc nearer the
     front of the search path than /sbin you'll get odd failures due to
     running the old versions when you weren't expecting to.

  �  It's a good idea to pick a time when nobody else is using the
     computer, or to take it single-user.  It might be a good idea to
     reboot it off a floppy so that a mistake doesn't leave you stuck,
     but personally I like to leave a small element of fun ...

  2.3.  Ingredients

  Anything in the following list that I describe as being ``on tsx-11''
  can be found in  <>,
  <>, and at many mirrors.  Please
  take the time to look up your nearest mirror site and use that instead
  of the master sites where possible.  It's faster for both you and
  everyone else.

  These packages (either the listed version or a later one) are
  required.  Also download and read through the release notes for each
  of them: these are the files named release.packagename.  This applies
  especially if you get newer versions than are listed here, as
  procedures may have changed.

  Even if you habitually compile things from source, I'd advise you to
  go for the binary versions where I've indicated, unless you really
  have no use for your hair.  Most of them are not set up for
  `crosscompiling' on an a.out-based system, and you are probably lining
  yourself up for major grief if you try.

  2.3.1.  Absolute essentials

  � --- the new dynamic linker.  Contains both
     source and binaries.  Note that forthcoming versions of this will
     require kernel ELF support even for a.out binaries; if you get
     1.8.1 or later instead of the version listed, make sure that the
     kernel you're running was compiled with ELF support before you
     install this.

  �  libc-5.3.12.bin.tar.gz --- the ELF shared images for the C and
     maths libraries, plus the corresponding static libraries and the
     include files needed to compile programs with them.  Source is also
     available if you like it, but it takes ages to compile, and
     probably won't at all unless you already have an ELF system.

  �  gcc-2.7.2.bin.tar.gz --- the ELF C compiler package, which also
     includes an a.out C compiler which understands the new directory
     layout.  If you want to build gcc yourself (which you'll probably
     find is simpler when you're already running ELF), you're
     recommended to apply gcc-2.7.2-linux.diff.gz to the GNU sources

  �  binutils- --- the GNU binary utilities patched
     for Linux.  These are programs such as gas, ld, strings and so on,
     most of which are required to make the C compiler go.  Note that
     the vanilla GNU binutils (e.g. from are not an
     acceptable substitute; if you really want to compile this yourself
     you'll need to use the patched-for-Linux binutils-
     package instead of the GNU one.

  �  ncurses-1.9.9e.tar.gz --- this is an SVR4-compatible curses
     library, which is henceforward deemed to be the `standard curses
     library' for Linux.  The source is available from GNU sites such as
     <> and also from
     <>, and there is a binary
     package on tsx-11.  By the time you get to install this you will
     have a fully functional ELF development system, so I recommend the
     source package if you have any kind of compilation horsepower.
     That may just be me, though.

  �  gdbm-1.7.3.tar.gz is a set of database routines that use extensible
     hashing and work similarly to the standard UNIX dbm and ndbm
     routines.  The source is available from GNU sites such as
     <>; you also need a patch
     <> to make
     shared libraries out of it.  That patch also fixes a couple of
     other things (a one-character typo in the Makefile and a
     predisposition to use the wrong kind of file locking).

  2.3.2.  Others

  These are other libraries and files which aren't strictly essential,
  but that you might want to get anyway.  This list contains only
  packages that need to be upgraded to work in an ELF-useful fashion.
  Later in this document is another list of programs which will continue
  to work but which you'll have to tweak/upgrade if you want to
  recompile them in ELF.  If your net access involves high-latency links
  (like, say, a five-minute walk with a box of floppy disks), skip
  forwards and check that one too before you set out :-)

  �  The a.out compatibility library package,  This is
     listed as `optional' because your existing a.out libraries of
     whatever vintage will continue to work fine with your existing
     binaries.  You might find that you need this if you plan to
     continue developing in a.out for whatever reason.

  �  BSD curses.  If you find binaries which require,
     this is the old BSD curses library.  They're probably quite rare,
     which is fortunate as I can't presently find a (source code) copy
     of the library.  It's probably best to recompile programs like this
     to use ncurses; if this is not an option, there is a binary in the libc-5.0.9.bin.tar.gz on tsx-11 mirrors.

  �  Berkeley db: the new 4.4BSD libdb database routines.  The source
     can be had from
     <>, and the patch
     for Linux shared libraries is

  �  C++ stuff. The gcc package comes with g++, but you'll also need
     libg++- to compile any useful C++ software.  I
     don't use C++ myself, but I understand that it is nontrivial to
     build this from source, hence the binary recommendation.

  �  GNU-compatible termcap.  The conversion to ncurses din't happen
     simultaneously with the move to ELF --- you might find that you
     want to run other people's programs that were built using this
     library, and for some applications you might wish to continue using
     it.  gdb is a legitimate example.  If you intend to debug shared
     libraries and you think that gdb is getting confused about the ones
     that it's linked with itself, you probably want a statically linked
     copy of it; in this case, you'll find that a real termcap is a lot
     smaller than the termcap-compatible routines in ncurses.

     termcap-2.0.8.tar.gz is available from tsx-11.  This is not GNU
     Termcap, but it is completely compatible (the differences are in
     the error checking, apparently).  This is a source code package.

  �  MAKEDEV.  In some incarnations, this utility removes existing
     entries for devices before recreating them.  This is Bad News if it
     removes /dev/zero, which causes some versions of to
     break.  Find a new version at

  �  modules-2.0.0.  If you use modules, the upgrade to binutils which
     you're shortly about to perform will break all versions of the
     modules utilities older than 1.3.69.  New modules utilities can be
     had from  <>.

  �  The X window system includes a lot of shared libraries.  As your
     new programs will be ELF, and ELF programs cannot use a.out
     libraries, you'll need a new X installation if you want to do any X
     development.  XFree86 3.1.2 comes in both a.out and ELF formats.
     ftp to, read the `too many users' message that you
     are almost guaranteed to get, and pick the closest mirror site
     network-wise to you.  Once you have the contents of the common and
     elf directories, you must edit /usr/X11R6/lib/X11/config/
     to change the lines saying

       #define LinuxElfDefault         NO
       #define UseElfFormat            NO

  to say YES instead.  Otherwise an xpm build will attempt to do odd
  stuff with jumpas and its associated relics of the past.  Note that
  XFree86 binaries currently require an ELF shared termcap library
  ( to be installed.

  If you use Motif, you may also need to contact your vendor, to inves�
  tigate whether they will supply ELF Motif libraries.  I don't use it;
  I can't help here.

  �  If you're upgrading to Linux 2.0 at the same time as going ELF,
     don't forget also to check the Documentation/Changes file that
     comes in the kernel source, to find out what else you'll need.

  2.4.  Rearranging your filesystem

  Sooo...  Note that in all that follows, when I say `remove' I
  naturally mean `backup then remove' :-).  Take a deep breath ...


      The essentials --- binary installation

  2. Make the new directories that you will move a.out things to

  mkdir -p /usr/i486-linuxaout/bin
  mkdir -p /usr/i486-linuxaout/include
  mkdir -p /usr/i486-linuxaout/lib
  mkdir /lib-aout

  3. Untar the dynamic linker package in the directory you
     usually put source code, then read through the script just unpacked.  If you have a
     really standard system, run it by doing sh, but if you
     have anything at all unusual then do the install by hand instead.
     `Anything at all unusual' includes

  �  using zsh as a shell (some versions of zsh define $VERSION, which
     seems to confuse

  �  having symlinks from /lib/elf to /lib (which you shouldn't need,
     but that's scant consolation when you're looking for the rescue

  4. Edit /etc/ to add the new directory
     /usr/i486-linuxaout/lib (and /lib-aout if you're going to need
     one).  Then rerun /sbin/ldconfig -v to check that it is picking up
     the new directories.

  5. Move all the a.out libraries in /usr/lib and /usr/*/lib to
     /usr/i486-linuxaout/lib.  Note, I said `libraries' not
     `everything'.  That's files matching the specification lib*.so* ,
     lib*.sa*, or lib*.a.  Don't start moving /usr/lib/gcc-lib or
     anything silly like that around.

  6. Now look at /lib.  Leave intact*,*, and*.
     If you have symlinks to X libraries (libX*.so.3*) leave them there
     too --- XView and some other packages may require them.  Leave*,* and any other files starting with ld.  As for
     the remaining libraries (if there are any others): if you have /usr
     on the root partition, put them in /usr/i486-linuxaout/lib.  If you
     have /usr mounted separately, put them in /lib-aout.  Now run
     ldconfig -v

  7. Remove the directory /usr/lib/ldscripts if it's there, in
     preparation for installing the binutils (which will recreate it)

  8. Remove any copies of ld and as (except for ld86 and as86) that you
     can find in /usr/bin.

  9. You need to clean up your /usr/include hierarchy.  On an average
     system, some of the files in here are `core' functionality and come
     with libc, while others are from other packages that you or your
     distribution builder have installed.  Given this mess, I suggest
     you remake it from scratch; rename it to /usr/include.old, then
     unpack libc-5.2.18.bin.tar.gz by untarring it from the root

     Install the binutils package.  tar -xvzf
     binutils- -C /  is one perfectly good way to do

     The gcc package expects to be untarred from root.  It installs some
     files in /usr/bin and lots more in /usr/lib/gcc-
     lib/i486-linux/2.7.2 and /usr/lib/gcc-lib/i486-linuxaout/2.7.2.

       $ tar ztf gcc-2.7.2.bin.tar.gz

  to see what's in it, backup anything that it overwrites that you feel
  you may want to keep (for example, if you have Gnu ADA installed you
  will probably want to keep /usr/bin/gcc), then just do

       # tar -zxf gcc-2.7.2.bin.tar.gz -C /

  At this point, you should be able to run gcc -v and compile test pro�
  grams.  Try

       $ gcc -v
       Reading specs from /usr/lib/gcc-lib/i486-linux/2.7.2/specs
       gcc version 2.7.2
       $ gcc -v -b i486-linuxaout
       Reading specs from /usr/lib/gcc-lib/i486-linuxaout/2.7.2/specs
       gcc version 2.7.2
       $ ld -V
       ld version 2.6 (with BFD
         Supported emulations:

  followed of course by the traditional ``Hello, world'' program.  Try
  it with gcc and with gcc -b i486-linuxaout to check that both the
  a.out and ELF compilers are set up correctly.

  Finished?  Not quite.  You still have all the `non-core' libraries to
  install, and a fair amount of mucking about with symlinks.  Onwards...


     Some programs (notably various X programs) use /lib/cpp, which
     under Linux is generally a link to /usr/lib/gcc-
     lib/i486-linux/version/cpp.  As the preceding step probably wiped
     out whatever version of cpp it was pointing to, you'll need to
     recreate the link:

  # cd /lib
  # ln -s /usr/lib/gcc-lib/i486-linux/2.7.2/cpp .

     When you moved /usr/include to /usr/include.old, you lost the
     symlinks into the kernel sources.  Run

       # cd /usr/include
       # ln -s ../src/linux/include/linux .
       # ln -s ../src/linux/include/asm .

  (assuming you have kernel source in /usr/src/linux; if not, season to

     The FSSTND people have once again justified their keep by moving
     the utmp and wtmp files from /var/adm to /var/run and /var/log
     respectively.  You'll need to add some links dependent on where
     they currently live, and you may need to make the /var/log and
     /var/adm directories too.  I reproduce below the ls -l output of
     appropriate bits on my system:

       $ ls -ld /var/adm /var/log /var/run /var/log/*tmp /var/run/*tmp
       lrwxrwxrwx   1 root     root            3 May 24 05:53 /var/adm -> log/
       drwxr-xr-x   9 root     root         1024 Aug 13 23:17 /var/log/
       lrwxrwxrwx   1 root     root           11 Aug 13 23:17 /var/log/utmp -> ../run/utmp
       -rw-r--r--   1 root     root       451472 Aug 13 23:00 /var/log/wtmp
       drwxr-xr-x   2 root     root         1024 Aug 13 23:17 /var/run/
       -rw-r--r--   1 root     root          448 Aug 13 23:00 /var/run/utmp

  Check the FSSTND (from LDP archives such as
  <>) for the full story.


  By this time you should have a (more or less) fully functioning ELF
  development system.  Stand back and celebrate quietly for a few

  Essential source code packages

     ncurses installation is a fairly long job, though most of of the
     time can be spent reading Usenet while it builds.  After unpacking
     the tar file, read the INSTALL file pretending that you are `a
     Linux ... distribution integrator or packager'; that is, you
     probably want to be configuring it with a command like
       $ ./configure --with-normal --with-shared --disable-termcap --enable-overwrite --prefix=/usr

  Take heed also of the comments about the default terminal type; in 1.3
  and 2.0 kernels this is set to linux at boot time, but you may find
  that you need to edit /etc/inittab to avoid having it set back to con�
  sole by getty.

  If you do not have /usr/lib/terminfo on the root disk you will have to
  fiddle with the `fallback' support in ncurses.  This is documented in
  the INSTALL file mentioned above, and is simple but tedious (due to
  the necessity of building the library twice).  If you're happy with
  having linux and vt100 as fallbacks, there is a ready-prepared fall�
  back.c at  <>
  which you can copy over the existing one.

  After you have installed ncurses, you'll have to get messy in /usr/lib
  --- it does some non-optimal things that are simplest to clear up by
  hand.  Note the weird discrepancy between the version numbers; this is
  ugly but not actually detrimental to human health.

     a. /usr/lib/ should be moved to /lib so that
        curses programs which run in single-user mode will continue to
        do so.  If you have /usr/lib on the root partition, this is
        unnecessary but will do no harm.

     b. In /lib, make a link to called

     c. You also need links /usr/lib/,
        /usr/lib/ and /usr/lib/ which should
        all point to /lib/

  In brief for the hard of thinking, that little lot was

       # cd /lib
       # mv /usr/lib/ .
       # ln -s
       # cd /usr/lib
       # ln -s /lib/
       # ln -s /lib/
       # ln -s /lib/

     gdbm installation.  Unpack the source code in a source code
     directory, apply gdbm.patch, and look over the README and INSTALL

     The build process should go something like:

  $ tar zxf gdbm-1.7.3.tar.gz
  $ patch -p0 <gdbm.patch
  $ cd gdbm-1.7.3
  $ ./configure --prefix=/usr
  $ make
  $ make progs
  $ su
  # make install
  # make install-compat
  # cd /usr/lib
  # ln -s
  # ln -s
  # ldconfig

  The last step is for backward-compatibility; some current distribu�
  tions use which is exactly the same code as,
  but misnumbered for historical reasons.

  Optional source code packages.  In general, you can just install these
  according to their instructions, so I won't repeat them.  There are
  two exceptions, though:

     If you want the GNU-ish termcap (strictly speaking, optional; in
     practice, necessary to use XFree86 binaries) it also needs to be
     built from source, but shouldn't require anything more complex than

       $ tar zxf termcap-2.0.8.tar.gz
       $ cd termcap-2.0.8
       $ make
       $ su
       # cp /usr/lib
       # ldconfig

  I recommend that you don't make install, as this would overwrite bits
  of the ncurses installation.  If you need to actually compile things
  against this library, as opposed to just running binaries that were
  made with it, think about putting the header files and static
  libraries somewhere nonstandard, and using -I and -L flags when you
  compile the said things.  The vagueness of this description should
  make it plain that continued use of termcap is `discouraged' unless
  you have a good reason.

     For libdb, it goes something like:

  $ tar zxf db.1.85.tar.gz
  $ patch -p0 <db.patch
  $ cd db.1.85/PORT/linux
  $ make
  $ su
  # mkdir /usr/include/db
  # ldconfig
  # cp /usr/lib ; ( cd /usr/lib && ln -s )
  # cp ../../include/*.h /usr/include/db

  Note that

  �  you're not applying PORT/linux/OTHER_PATCHES, because it's subsumed
     by this patch

  �  you're installing the header files somewhere other than
     /usr/include --- they conflict with the ones that gdbm uses.  To
     compile programs that want libdb you must add -I/usr/include/db to
     the C compiler's command line.

  2.5.  What it should look like (outline directory structure)

  This is a deliberately vague guide to what the files you have just
  installed are.  It may be useful for troubleshooting or deciding what
  to delete.


  �  Dynamic linkers (a.out) and (ELF).  Either of
     these may be symlinks, but make sure that the files they point to
     do exist.

  �  Basic shared libraries, (a.out) These are
     symlinks, but check that they point to real files.

  �  Basic shared libraries,,,,, (ELF).  Again, these
     are symlinks.  Check the files that they point to.

  2.5.2.  /usr/lib

  �  All the non-library files and directories that were there

  �*,*,*, ELF shared libraries.

  �  More symlinks.  For each library in /lib or /usr/lib, there should
     be a symlink in here.  The link's name should be the real filename,
     minus the version number.  For example, for libc,

  lrwxrwxrwx   1 root     root           14 May  2 20:09 /lib/ ->
  -rwxr-xr-x   1 bin      bin        583795 Apr 25 06:15 /lib/
  lrwxrwxrwx   1 root     root           12 Oct 27  1995 /usr/lib/ -> /lib/

  These links are used by ld at link time.

  �  libbsd.a, libgmon.a, libmcheck.a, libmcheck.a and one lib*.a file
     for every ELF shared library in /lib and /usr/lib.  ELF static
     libraries.  The ones that duplicate shared libraries may not be
     tremendously useful for most people --- when using ELF, you can use
     the gcc -g switch with shared libraries, so there's not much reason
     to compile static any longer.  You will need to keep them if you
     actually want to debug the libraries themselves.

  �  crt0.o, gcrt0.o.  a.out `start of program' files; one of these is
     linked as the first file in every a.out program you compile, unless
     you take steps to avoid it.

  �  crt1.o, crtbegin.o, crtbeginS.o, crtend.o, crtendS.o, crti.o,
     crtn.o, gcrt1.o.  ELF startup files.  These do similar things to
     *crt0.o above for ELF programs.


  �  This is where the driver scripts for ld live, as the name suggests.
     It should look like

       $ ls /usr/lib/ldscripts/
       elf_i386.x      elf_i386.xs     i386coff.xn     i386linux.xbn
       elf_i386.xbn    elf_i386.xu     i386coff.xr     i386linux.xn
       elf_i386.xn     i386coff.x      i386coff.xu     i386linux.xr
       elf_i386.xr     i386coff.xbn    i386linux.x     i386linux.xu

  2.5.4.  /usr/i486-linux/bin

  �  ar, as, gasp, ld, nm, ranlib, strip.  These are all actually
     symlinks to the real binutils in /usr/bin

  2.5.5.  /usr/i486-linuxaout/bin

  �  as --- the a.out assembler, and gasp, its macro preprocessor

  �  ar, ld, nm, ranlib, strip --- symlinks to the real binutils in

  2.5.6.  /usr/i486-linux/lib

  �  ldscripts is a symlink to /usr/lib/ldscripts.

  2.5.7.  /usr/i486-linuxaout/lib

  �  lib*.so*. a.out shared library images.  Needed to run a.out

  �  lib*.sa. a.out shared library stubs.  Needed to compile a.out
     programs that use shared libraries.  If you don't intend to, you
     can safely remove these.

  �  lib*.a. a.out static libraries.  Needed to compile static a.out
     programs (eg when compiling with -g).  Again, you can delete them
     if you don't intend to do this.

  �  ldscripts is a symbolic link to /usr/lib/ldscripts

  2.5.8.  /usr/lib/gcc-lib/i486-linux/2.7.2

  �  This directory contains a version of gcc 2.7.2 set up to compile
     ELF programs.

  2.5.9.  /usr/lib/gcc-lib/i486-linuxaout/2.7.2

  �  This directory contains a version of gcc 2.7.2 set up to compile
     a.out programs, which knows about the new directory structure.  If
     you're not going to compile anything in a.out, deleting this may
     free up around 4Mb.  Note that you need to keep it if you want to
     build unpatched 1.2 series kernels.

  2.6.  Common errors --- Don't Panic!

  (in large friendly letters)

      You moved the wrong thing and now nothing runs
        You still have a shell running, though, and with a little
        ingenuity you can do an awful lot with shell builtins.  Remember
        that echo * is an acceptable substitute for ls, and echo
        >>filename can be used to add lines to a file.  Also, don't
        forget that ldconfig is linked static.  If you moved, say, to /lib-aout mistakenly, you can do echo "lib-aout"
        >>/etc/ ; ldconfig -v/ and be back up again.  If you
        moved /lib/ you may be able to do sln /silly/place/
        /lib/, if you have a statically linked ln, and probably be
        back up again.

      bad address
        on attempting to run anything ELF.  You're using kernel 1.3.x,
        where x<3.  Don't.  They're probably the buggiest Linux kernels
        on the planet anyway.  Upgrade to 2.0 or downgrade to 1.2.13.
        Some people also report kernel panics in similar circumstances;
        I haven't investigated, chiefly as I can think of no reason for
        wanting or needing to run development kernels and not keeping up
        with the releases.

      gcc: installation problem, cannot exec something: No such file or
        when attempting to do a.out compilations (something is usually
        one of cpp or cc1).  Either it's right, or alternatively you

          $ gcc -b -i486-linuxaout

     when you should have typed

          $ gcc -b i486-linuxaout

     Note that the `i486' does not start with a dash.

     make: *** No targets specified and no makefile found.  Stop.
        indicates that you haven't patched and recompiled make, or that
        you still have an old version of it elsewhere on the system.

      no such file or directory: /usr/bin/gcc
        (or any other file that you try to run) when you know there is
        such a file.  This usually means that the ELF dynamic loader
        /lib/ is not installed, or is unreadable for some
        reason.  You should have installed it at around step 2

      not a ZMAGIC file, skipping
        from ldconfig.  You have an old version of the package, so
        get a recent one.  Again, see step 2 of the installation.

      _setutent: Can't open utmp file
        This message is often seen in multiples of three when you start
        an xterm.  Go and read the FSSTND tirade near the end of the
        installation procedure.

  3.  Building programs

  3.1.  Ordinary programs

  To build a program in ELF, use gcc as always.  To build in a.out, use
  gcc -b i486-linuxaout .

       $ cat >hello.c
       main() { printf("hello, world\n"); }
       $ gcc -o hello hello.c
       $ file hello
       hello: ELF 32-bit LSB executable i386 (386 and up) Version 1
       $ ./hello
       hello, world

  This is perhaps an appropriate time to answer the question ``if a.out
  compilers default to producing a program called a.out, what name does
  an ELF compiler give its output?''.  Still a.out, is the answer.
  Boring boring boring ...  :-)

  3.2.  Building libraries

  To build as a shared library, the basic steps look like

       $ gcc -fPIC -c *.c
       $ gcc -shared -Wl,-soname, -o *.o
       $ ln -s
       $ ln -s
       $ export LD_LIBRARY_PATH=`pwd`:$LD_LIBRARY_PATH

  This will generate a shared library called, and the
  appropriate links for ld ( and the dynamic linker
  ( to find it.  To test, we add the current directory to

  When you're happpy that the library works, you'll have to move it to,
  say, /usr/local/lib, and recreate the appropriate links.  Note that
  the link should point to, so it doesn't need
  updating on every minor version number change.  The link from to is kept up to date by ldconfig, which on
  most systems is run as part of the boot process.

       $ su
       # cp /usr/local/lib
       # /sbin/ldconfig
       # ( cd /usr/local/lib ; ln -s )

  3.3.  Building in a.out

  You may have a need to continue to build programs in the old a.out
  format.  For `normal' programs all you need to do to use the a.out
  compiler is specify the flag -b i486-linuxaout when you call gcc, and
  -m i386linux when (if) you call ld.  If you need to build a.out DLL
  shared libraries still, you have my sympathy.  To the best of my
  knowledge, the short answer is that it doesn't work.  Please mail me
  if you know different.

  4.  Patches and binaries

  At this point in the proceedings, you can, if you like, stop.  You
  have installed everything necessary to compile and run ELF programs.

  You may wish to rebuild programs in ELF, either for purposes of
  `neatness' or to minimise memory usage.  For most end-user
  applications, this is pretty simple; some packages however do assume
  too much about the systems they run on, and may fail due to one or
  more of:
  �  Different underscore conventions in the assembler: in an a.out
     executable, external labels get _ prefixed to them; in an ELF
     executable, they don't.  This makes no difference until you start
     integrating hand-written assembler: all the labels of the form _foo
     must be translated to foo, or (if you want to be portable about it)
     to EXTERNAL(foo) where EXTERNAL is some macro which returns either
     its argument (if __ELF__ is defined) or _ concatenated with its
     argument if not.

  �  Differences in libc 5 from libc 4.  The interface to the locale
     support has changed, for one.

  �  The application or build process depending on knowledge of the
     binary format used --- emacs, for example, dumps its memory image
     to disk in executable format, so obviously needs to know what
     format your executables are in.

  �  The application consists of or includes shared libraries (X11 is
     the obvious example).  These will obviously need changes to
     accomodate the different method of shared library creation in ELF.

  Anyway, here are two lists: the first is of programs that needed
  changing for ELF where the changes have been made (i.e. that you will
  need new versions of to compile as ELF), and the second is of programs
  that still need third-party patches of some kind.

  4.1.  Upgrade:

  �  Dosemu.  Nowadays, dosemu runs with ELF.  You'll need to monkey
     with the Makefile.  Current versions of dosemu are available from

  �  e2fsutils.  The Utilities for the Second Extended File System
     versions 0.5c and later compile unchanged in ELF.

  �  Emacs.  There are two potential problems here.  (i) Emacs has a
     rather odd build procedure that involves running a minimal version
     of itself, loading in all the useful bits as lisp, then dumping its
     memory image back to disk as an executable file.  (FSF) Emacs 19.29
     and XEmacs 19.12 (formerly Lucid Emacs) can both detect whether you
     are compiling as ELF and Do The Right Thing automatically.  (ii) If
     you build some versions of emacs against ncurses, it will fail
     unless you first edit src/s/linux.h in the emacs distribution to
     add the line #define TERMINFO somewhere near the top.  This is not
     necessary for 19.31, but is for XEmacs 19.13.  Apparently it will
     be fixed in 19.14.

  �  gdb 4.16.  Your existing copy of gdb will continue to work just as
     well as it always has done in the past, but the shared library
     support in 4.16 is a lot better, so if you want to debug programs
     that do weird things in that area, this is a good upgrade.

  �  The Kernel.  Kernel versions 2.0 and greater work fine with ELF;
     you have to say `yes' to both of

       Kernel support for ELF binaries (CONFIG_BINFMT_ELF) [Y/m/n/?]
       Compile kernel as ELF - if your GCC is ELF-GCC (CONFIG_KERNEL_ELF) [Y/n/?]

  when you run make config (this is also the case for most of the 1.3
  series).  If you are using 1.2 still, see the `patch' list below.

  �  perl 5.  Perl 5.001m and later will compile unchanged on an ELF
     system, complete with dynamic loading.  Current versions of Perl
     are available from CPAN (Comprehensive Perl Archive Network) sites:
     see  <> for the closest one
     to you.

  �  ps and top.  Procps 0.98 and greater will work with ELF (earlier
     versions also work, but can't read the kernel to find WCHAN names,
     if you care about them).  Note that 2.0 series kernels require
     procps 0.99a or greater anyway.

  �  The cal program in util-linux 2.2 doesn't work.  Upgrade to version
     2.5 <> or later.

  �  Mosaic.  I don't have the facilities to build this myself, but the
     Mosaic 2.7b1 binary available from NCSA comes in ELF.  It has been
     linked against an odd X setup though, with the result that on
     normal systems it will complain about not finding
     The simple fix is to edit it carefully with emacs or another editor
     that copes with binary files.  Find the occurence of the string^@ (where ^@ is a NUL --- ASCII zero --- character),
     delete the .5 and add two more characters after the NUL to aviod
     changing the file length.

  4.2.  Patch

  �  file.  This works anyway, but can be improved:
     <> adds
     support for identifying stripped and mixed-endian ELF binaries.

  �  make-3.74 --- either get the source code from a GNU site and apply
     the patch that comes with the libc-5.3.12 release notes, or get the
     binary make-3.74.gz from tsx-11.  There is a bug in GNU make which
     only manifests with new ELF libc versions --- it's actually a
     dependency on a bug in old versions of the GNU libc, which was also
     present in Linux libc until recently.  If you keep your old a.out
     make program it will continue to work, but if you want an ELF one
     you need the patch.

     The GNU Make developers know about the bug, and one day will
     release a fixed version.

  �  The 1.2.x Kernel.  You have three options:

     1. Patch the Makefile slightly to use the a.out compiler.  cd
        /usr/src/linux/, cut the following patch out, and feed it into
        patch -p1.  Or just edit the Makefile manually using this as a
        guide; it's clear enough (delete the lines marked with a - and
        add the ones with a +.

     diff -u linux-1.2.13/Makefile.orig linux/Makefile
     --- linux-1.2.13/Makefile.orig  Wed Aug 16 20:53:26 1995
     +++ linux/Makefile      Fri Dec  8 16:19:49 1995
     @@ -12,9 +12,9 @@
      TOPDIR := $(shell if [ "$$PWD" != "" ]; then echo $$PWD; else pwd; fi)

     -AS     =as
     -LD     =ld
     -HOSTCC =gcc -I$(TOPDIR)/include
     -CC     =gcc -D__KERNEL__ -I$(TOPDIR)/include
     +AS     =/usr/i486-linuxaout/bin/as
     +LD     =ld  -m i386linux
     +HOSTCC =gcc -b i486-linuxaout -I$(TOPDIR)/include
     +CC     =gcc -b i486-linuxaout -D__KERNEL__ -I$(TOPDIR)/include
      MAKE   =make
      CPP    =$(CC) -E
      AR     =ar


     2. Apply H J Lu's patch which allows compiling the kernel in ELF
        (and also adds the ability to do ELF core dumps).  This can be
        had from

        If you are using an ELF distribution (RedHat 2.1, Slackware 3)
        which comes with a 1.2 series kernel, you will probably find
        that this patch or one similar has been applied already.

        The best idea, hoever, is probably

     3. Upgrade to 2.0!  1.2 was never really intended for ELF anyway.

     You will have other problems compiling 1.2.13 with gcc 2.7.2 and
     above; there was a bug in asm/io.h which is only detected by gcc
     2.7.2.  You will need the patch

  5.  Further information

  �  The GCC-HOWTO <GCC-HOWTO.html> contains much useful information
     about development on Linux (at least, I think it does; I maintain
     it).  It should be available from the same place as you found this,
     which is why the link above is relative.

  �  The linux-gcc mailing list (which is also the
     newsgroup, if you have a linux.* news feed) is really the best
     place to see what's happening, usually without even posting to it.
     Remember, it's not Usenet, so keep the questions down unless you're
     actually developing.  For instructions on joining the mailing list,
     mail a message containing the word help to  Archives of the list are at

  �  There's a certain amount of information about what the linux-gcc
     list is doing at my linux-gcc web page
     <>, when I
     remember to update it.  This also has a link to the latest version
     of this HOWTO, and the patches it refers to.  For US people and
     others with poor links to UK academic sites (that's nearly everyone
     outside of UK academia), this is all mirrored at

  �  There's also documentation for the file format on tsx-11
     <>.  This
     is probably of most use to people who want to understand, debug or
     rewrite programs that deal directly with binary objects.

  �  H J Lu's document ELF: From The Programmer's Perspective
     contains much useful and more detailed information on programming
     with ELF.  If you aren't LaTeX-capable, it is also available as

  �  Information about the ncurses library and the terminfo database is
     available from Eric Raymond's ncurses resource page

  �  There is a manual page covering dlopen(3) and related functions,
     which is supplied with the package.

  6.  Miscellanities

  6.1.  Feedback

  is welcomed.  Mail me at  My PGP public key
  (ID 5F263625) is available from my web pages
  <>, if you feel the need to be
  secretive about things.

  If you have a question that you feel this document should have
  answered and doesn't, mail me.  If you have a question which probably
  shouldn't be answered here but you think I might know the answer
  anyway, you might want to try posting to an appropriate
  comp.os.linux.* newsgroup first; I usually answer mail eventually, but
  I have been known to lose it on occasion.

  Anyone found adding my name to junk email lists will pay dearly for

  6.2.  Translations

  If you wish to translate this document, please go right ahead, but do
  tell me about it!  The chances are (sadly) several hundred to one
  against that I speak the language you wish to translate to, but that
  aside I am happy to help in whatever way I can.

  Translations that I know of are:

  �  Italian <>,
     by Favro Renata.  (Other HOWTOs are also available in Italian from

  �  Kojima Mitsuhiro has produced a Japanese translation, available
     from  <>.

  6.3.  Legal bits

  All trademarks used in this document are acknowledged as being owned
  by their respective owners.  Yow!

  The right of Daniel Barlow to be identified as the author of this work
  has been asserted in accordance with sections 77 and 78 of the
  Copyright Designs and Patents Act 1988.

  This document is copyright (C) 1996 Daniel Barlow
  <> It may be reproduced and distributed in
  whole or in part, in any medium physical or electronic, as long as
  this copyright notice is retained on all copies. Commercial
  redistribution is allowed and encouraged; however, the author would
  like to be notified of any such distributions.

  All translations, derivative works, or aggregate works incorporating
  any Linux HOWTO documents must be covered under this copyright notice.
  That is, you may not produce a derivative work from a HOWTO and impose
  additional restrictions on its distribution. Exceptions to these rules
  may be granted under certain conditions; please contact the Linux
  HOWTO coordinator at the address given below.

  In short, we wish to promote dissemination of this information through
  as many channels as possible. However, we do wish to retain copyright
  on the HOWTO documents, and would like to be notified of any plans to
  redistribute the HOWTOs.

  If you have questions, please contact Greg Hankins, the Linux HOWTO
  coordinator, at

- --- END Linux ELF HOWTO part 1/1 ---

Version: 2.6.2
Comment: finger for public key


			        About USENET

USENET (Users’ Network) was a bulletin board shared among many computer
systems around the world. USENET was a logical network, sitting on top
of several physical networks, among them UUCP, BLICN, BERKNET, X.25, and
the ARPANET. Sites on USENET included many universities, private companies
and research organizations. See USENET Archives.

		       SCO Files Lawsuit Against IBM

March 7, 2003 - The SCO Group filed legal action against IBM in the State 
Court of Utah for trade secrets misappropriation, tortious interference, 
unfair competition and breach of contract. The complaint alleges that IBM 
made concentrated efforts to improperly destroy the economic value of 
UNIX, particularly UNIX on Intel, to benefit IBM's Linux services 
business. See SCO v IBM.

The materials and information included in this website may only be used
for purposes such as criticism, review, private study, scholarship, or

Electronic mail:			       WorldWideWeb: