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The kernel and the C library as a single project

The kernel and the C library as a single project

Posted Nov 30, 2010 23:35 UTC (Tue) by cyd (guest, #4153)
Parent article: The kernel and the C library as a single project

What, no one remembers "Linux libc" and the long messy transition from "libc5" (Linux libc) to "libc6" (upstream GNU libc)? Here's the relevant excerpt from Rick Moen's classic essay on free software forking, at [http://linuxmafia.com/faq/Licensing_and_Law/forking.html]:

> When Linus and his fellow programmers started work on the GNU/Linux system (using Linus's "Linux" kernel), they looked around for free-software C libraries, and chose Stallman's. However, they decided that FSF's library (then at version 1-point-something) could/should best be adapted for the Linux kernel as a separately-maintained project, and so decided to fork off their own version, dubbed "Linux libc"... but in 1997-98 they noticed something disconcerting: FSF's glibc, although it was still in 1-point-something version numbers, had developed some amazing advantages... even though their fork seemed a good idea at the time, it had been a strategic mistake. Adding all of FSF's improvements to their mutant version would be possible, but it was easier just to re-standardise onto glibc.


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The kernel and the C library as a single project

Posted Dec 1, 2010 2:56 UTC (Wed) by vonbrand (guest, #4458) [Link]

I remember libc5 as an a.out library (and rather non-portable, it was intimately tied to the Linux kernel; the GNU libc just didn't work on Linux, as it was meant to be built on Solaris and such), the move to libc6 was due mostly to migrating to ELF (and meant large scale changes to glibc to make it work with Linux). Yes, the switchover was a veritable mess.

The kernel and the C library as a single project

Posted Dec 1, 2010 6:11 UTC (Wed) by jamesh (guest, #1159) [Link]

The a.out to ELF transition occurred at the upgrade from libc4 to libc5. We were already using ELF when moving to glibc.


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