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Re: elf, a.out and debian 1.*

On Fri, 19 Jan 1996, Raul Miller wrote:

> William Gribble:
>    I guess I'm a little out of the loop; I wasn't aware that ELF had
>    problems with stability, especially at the level of its API.  Are
>    there problems that have come up with particular packages that have
>    been determined to be ELF problems? If not, what makes you think
>    there are stability problems?
> There's two classes of problems.
> (1) it's a new system (for linux), you have to shake out bugs in a new
> system.  If you want stability, don't make everything change all at
> once.  Limit your free variables if you want to isolate problems.
> (2) ELF is not yet as capable as a.out at sustaining upgrades without
> losing compatability with old code.  This is being worked on and
> should be available "Real Soon Now".  It's not something we can
> completely rely on this month.
> I think ELF is a great idea.  I think some people are still having
> problems with it, and may continue to do so for some indeterminate
> time.

Let's be clear here Raul, ELF and a.out are binary load formats. Your 
reference to ELF and a.out releases should actually be references to 1.X 
and 0.93R6. 0.93R6 is a stable release and 1.X is not, but this has 
nothing to do with the fact that one is a.out and the other ELF.
All of the upgrading snafus that I have seen discussed so far have to do 
with the difficulty in upgrading shared libraries without breaking 
something in the process. These are standard upgrading problems, and have 
nothing to do with ELF.
When I upgraded to ELF so I could do development work, I followed the 
prescribed method of library replacement with no snags whatsoever. Since 
then several of the libraries have been rebuilt, and installation 
problems have apparently cropped up. I'm running a 1.3.43 ELF-built-in 
kernel and just checked top to find out that I have been up for 12 days. 
That seems pretty stable to me.
Sorry to be so long winded but to get the next release out we need to 
focus on actual problems and not get lost in jargon.



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