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Linux Plans To Stop Building a.out Support On Alpha & M68k To See If Anyone Cares

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  • motang
    replied
    Originally posted by kylew77 View Post

    Michael put a disclaimer that said that a.out of a compiler is not the same as as an a.out executable. I was confused the first time I read that they were depreciating a.out too. If you do the command "file a.out" it will say something like 64 bit executable built for kernel 3.x+ ELF shared libraries something like that (on my work MAC so don't have a linux system in front of me).
    Ah thanks for clarification.

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  • kylew77
    replied
    Originally posted by motang View Post
    First programming class taught us how to do "Hello, world!" in C++ and its output file was a.out.
    Michael put a disclaimer that said that a.out of a compiler is not the same as as an a.out executable. I was confused the first time I read that they were depreciating a.out too. If you do the command "file a.out" it will say something like 64 bit executable built for kernel 3.x+ ELF shared libraries something like that (on my work MAC so don't have a linux system in front of me).

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  • kylew77
    replied
    Originally posted by Developer12 View Post

    I suppose it's interesting from an historical perspective. It was the very first architecture linux was ported to.
    Came here to say this. After the i386 Alpha came next. But just as i386 support was removed a few years ago and now requires an i486, ALpha might not stick around much longer. Heck it is hard to find a distro other than a source based one for anything less than an i686 class processor nowadays. Most people don't want to run anything older than a P3 nowadays. Used to see some dual P3 slotted processors used for web servers but don't even see that with the Raspberry pi 4 and newer being just about as good.

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  • motang
    replied
    First programming class taught us how to do "Hello, world!" in C++ and its output file was a.out.

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  • Developer12
    replied
    Originally posted by jabl View Post
    One wonders whether anyone cares about Alpha anymore? At some point I believe the kernel developers had some interest in it has it had the loosest craziest memory consistency model imaginable, so they used it as a sort of lowest common denominator when designing their own memory barrier etc. abstractions. But if nobody actually runs anything on Alpha anymore, why bother?
    I suppose it's interesting from an historical perspective. It was the very first architecture linux was ported to.

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  • Chewi
    replied
    Originally posted by JPFSanders View Post

    Question for you, would Gentoo m68k work on the Vampire m68K FPGA accelerators? is their "68080" implementation decent enough?
    I really don't know. I gather it's supposed to be compatible so I don't see why not. GCC and the kernel doesn't know anything about the 68080, so any new instructions wouldn't get used, but it would probably still be fast.

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  • jabl
    replied
    Originally posted by stormcrow View Post
    My personal experience were the AlphaStations that were basically PCs but used Alpha CPUs bought by the principle investigator for the particle physics lab I worked for at university. Everything else was PC industry standard including RAM and PCI slots - a huge departure for DEC, but it wouldn't save them as a business.
    We had lots of Alpha workstations in the student labs in the university, and I had one as my personal workstations as well when I started working at the physics lab. It ran OSF/1, there was discussion about installing some Alpha Linux distribution in order to get a wider array of out of the box software as the DEC collection was rather sparse, but dithering for a few years solved the problem as by then PC's were cheaper, faster and less quirky.

    I'd guess by now a RPi would run circles around that old Alpha workstation.

    We also had an Alpha based cluster, when the lab got rid of that IIRC it was sold for spare parts to some nuclear power plant.

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  • JPFSanders
    replied
    Originally posted by Chewi View Post

    A slightly beefed-up Amiga 1200, but I don't build on there. I used to do a lot of cross-compiling, but I've already made heavy use of QEMU lately.
    Question for you, would Gentoo m68k work on the Vampire m68K FPGA accelerators? is their "68080" implementation decent enough?

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  • stormcrow
    replied
    Originally posted by jabl View Post
    One wonders whether anyone cares about Alpha anymore? At some point I believe the kernel developers had some interest in it has it had the loosest craziest memory consistency model imaginable, so they used it as a sort of lowest common denominator when designing their own memory barrier etc. abstractions. But if nobody actually runs anything on Alpha anymore, why bother?
    There's probably some rare Alpha systems here and there, but they really are becoming rare beasts. I knew a man whose main business was supporting legacy Alpha systems up in and around Dayton, OH some years ago. This was somewhere around 2010. He had to cannibalize dying systems for parts to keep critical ones running. It seems many of his clients were banks using VMS.

    My personal experience were the AlphaStations that were basically PCs but used Alpha CPUs bought by the principle investigator for the particle physics lab I worked for at university. Everything else was PC industry standard including RAM and PCI slots - a huge departure for DEC, but it wouldn't save them as a business. These ran OSF/1. The chemistry dept got their first AlphaStation 3100, more of a DEC traditional layout if I'm remembering the model number correctly. It came with the first useful Alpha Linux distribution direct from DEC. There was a lot of back and forth interest between physics and chemistry over operating and how fast the new Alphas were in simulations versus the older MIPS DECStations even without major optimization efforts. Mathematics had SGI Indigos and outside of the pretty UI, they didn't perform as well, nor did the Sun workstations in the engineering school. We had to beat the engineering students off with sticks because the Alphas weren't school owned, they were mostly dedicated to running particle interaction simulations (think CERN, Los Alamos, and Fermi Lab particle beam experiments) - and porn of course for the student lab workers at night.

    These days most PCs can easily out perform an AlphaStation, so outside of keeping old critical systems going, they're merely a curiosity of what might-have-been. I doubt there's going to be too many Alpha owners that care about a.out still out there that also run Linux. There's so few left that FreeBSD moved Alpha to the unsupported tier for lack of functional hardware. It used to be the only other tier supported besides x86 (many years ago).
    Last edited by stormcrow; 11 March 2022, 01:15 PM.

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  • microcode
    replied
    Can an a.out be linked into an ELF?

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