Linux 6.1 Finishes Gutting Out The Old a.out Code

Written by Michael Larabel in Linux Kernel on 11 October 2022 at 03:00 AM EDT. Add A Comment
Back in 2019 the Linux kernel finally deprecated a.out support for that format superseded by ELF long ago. Since earlier this year kernel developers moved ahead with beginning to remove a.out support, including the old x86 a.out support. Now with Linux 6.1 some lingering remnants of a.out are being cleared away.

Code that landed for the Linux 6.1 merge window finishes removing the a.out support globally. As mentioned the support has been disabled for a while but now some 500 lines of related a.out code can be cleared away.

The a.out file format was used in the pre-ELF days but hasn't been relevant in many years. The a.out file format isn't to be confused with compilers sometimes using the "a.out" file name when none is otherwise specified as those are not in the actual a.out format but rather just an old naming convention artifact.

This merge is what finished clearing away the old a.out remnants in the Linux 6.1 kernel.
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Michael Larabel is the principal author of and founded the site in 2004 with a focus on enriching the Linux hardware experience. Michael has written more than 20,000 articles covering the state of Linux hardware support, Linux performance, graphics drivers, and other topics. Michael is also the lead developer of the Phoronix Test Suite, Phoromatic, and automated benchmarking software. He can be followed via Twitter, LinkedIn, or contacted via

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