Linux Kernel Finally Deprecating A.out Support

Written by Michael Larabel in Linux Kernel on 6 March 2019 at 04:55 AM EST. 40 Comments
Linux has supported ELF binaries since the 1.x kernel days and now 25 years later, its support for the a.out file format is finally on the way out the door.

The Linux 5.1 kernel is moving ahead and deprecating a.out support with ELF binaries being ubiquitous and the old a.out support code suffering from bit rot.

Following the a.out deprecation being merged to Linux 5.1 Git on Tuesday, Linus Torvalds took it further. Linus removed the core dumping support as the code is in particularly bad shape. Linus also notes none of the modern compiler toolchains even support creating a.out binaries anymore.

Dropping that code is just 500 lines of code saving but eventually the upstream kernel developers plan on dropping the a.out support after a few kernel cycles of being deprecated and seeing if any real users come to light.
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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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