September 27, 2022

COSFONE

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Linux removes support for the a.out format

2 min read

Linux removes support for the a.out format and removes its associated code

 

Linux removes support for the a.out format and removes its associated code.


Back in 2019, the Linux kernel deprecated the decades-old a.out file format support, and the new ELF format took over.

In 2022, the code related to a.out seems to be removed from the kernel.

 

Linux relied on the a.out format until v1.2 in the mid-90s, when ELF became a popular binary file format.

While the a.out format hasn’t been widely used on Linux for years, it wasn’t until 2019 that the Linux kernel deprecated support for running a.out binaries on x86 32-bit.

In fact, compilers and other tool components have moved away from the a.out file format over the years.

 

According to foreign media Phorinix , Borislav Petkov proposed a patch to remove a.out support from the kernel:

 

Linux removes support for the a.out format and removes its associated code

 

So far, all responding Linux upstream developers support clearing the a.out support-related code.

 

It’s also possible that some old system calls and other unused kernel code are cleaned up in the process.

This removal patch doesn’t seem to make it into the Linux 5.17 merge window, and may be delayed until v5.18, but in any case, the 2022 Linux kernel will drop a.out support entirely.

 


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