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A bit premature

A bit premature

Posted Mar 27, 2008 14:18 UTC (Thu) by clugstj (subscriber, #4020)
In reply to: Your teaser is too conservative by JoeBuck
Parent article: Striking gold in binutils

Before we declare him a linker god, we need to remember that what he has links x86 ELF
(imperfectly).  This is a far cry from a replacement for GNU ld which links dozens of
processors' code in at least a half dozen different file formats.

A 5x speedup is nice, but it's not nearly as amazing when you consider how little of the
previous tool's functionality it has.


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A bit premature

Posted Mar 27, 2008 14:59 UTC (Thu) by pj (subscriber, #4506) [Link]

Still, ld should be optimized for the common case, which is x86 ELF, and it's clearly not.
Times changes, the 'common case' changes, and tools should keep up.

A bit premature

Posted Mar 28, 2008 0:17 UTC (Fri) by giraffedata (subscriber, #1954) [Link]

Besides, Ian doesn't have to produce an actual replacement for Ld or smite Ld to the ground to be a hero or a linker god. If he can produce a replacement for Ld on x86 and x86_64 with ELF, that's godly all by itself.

For a great many people, there is no effective difference between a linker that works on x86 and x86_64 with ELF and a linker that works on dozens of processors and half a dozen file formats.

A bit premature

Posted Mar 28, 2008 16:20 UTC (Fri) by landley (subscriber, #6789) [Link]

> This is a far cry from a replacement for GNU ld which links dozens of
> processors' code in at least a half dozen different file formats.

1) Isn't the unix way "do one thing and do it well"?

2) Shouldn't Linux Weekly News be most interested in the tools and formats used by _Linux_?
(Is it still interesting to have an ld mode to produce a.out code?  I tried to produce a static
a.out binary with gcc 4.1.2 and couldn't figure out how in the first hour of trying, and
google didn't pull anything up either.  How interesting is the ability to produce other binary
formats last used by discontinued Hewlett Packard minicomputers from 1986?)

3) The way "binflat" files is created is to make an ELF file, then have a second tool produce
a second file from the ELF file.  Same for the kernel producing zImage files from the ELF
format vmlinux.

Much of what GNU ld is doing may not actually actually a good idea...

A bit premature

Posted Mar 28, 2008 22:43 UTC (Fri) by nix (subscriber, #2304) [Link]

GNU ld *does* only one thing: it links. It doesn't actually know much 
about object file formats (as you doubtless know, that job is left to 
libbfd).

ld's real problem is *age*: its design predates ELF, and it shows. Its 
design meshes quite well with COFF, but who uses that naymore?

(And I use the ihex ld target on a fairly regular basis. Maybe there are 
other ways to do the same thing, but it works for me...)

Who uses COFF?

Posted Apr 5, 2008 14:22 UTC (Sat) by anton (subscriber, #25547) [Link]

Last I looked, Windows and Tru64 Unix (possibly also other proprietary Unices).

A bit premature

Posted Mar 30, 2008 21:40 UTC (Sun) by AJWM (guest, #15888) [Link]

>> This is a far cry from a replacement for GNU ld which links dozens of
>> processors' code in at least a half dozen different file formats.

>1) Isn't the unix way "do one thing and do it well"?

Yes, but remember, GNU's Not Unix.  While it's often an improvement, it does have some
idiosyncrasies that drive me crazy (like the insistance on having man pages that basically say
'see the info document', for example).

A bit premature

Posted Mar 31, 2008 0:12 UTC (Mon) by nix (subscriber, #2304) [Link]

Er, most GNU software has had better manpages than that for many years 
(derived automatically from the texinfo, just as the info is).


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