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SubjectRe: Boot code rewritten for GAS
Date
Chris Noe writes:
> On Sun, 1 Aug 1999, Albert D. Cahalan wrote:
>
>> I'd say you guessed why this keeps getting ignored. (I have binutils
>> 2.8.1.0.1 right now.) You could submit the patch again in a few years.
...
> I hope that it's not too much to ask that when someone upgrades to 2.4
> with all it's newfangled thisandthats (tm) that they should pick up the
> latest version of the assembler, which fixes this bug and that bug and
> adds this feature, &c? I do realize that it is a royal PITA sometimes,
> but binutils (and gas specifically) is a pretty important thing to keep up
> to date being as it is at the very heart of compiling *anything* and
> should be able to do it correctly (sadly, it seems that it can only do
> it with the most recent versions :). And who can forget having to
> update quite a few basic programs when coming from 2.0 -> 2.2?

I only had to upgrade my DHCP and PPP software.

> BTW, is there any pressing reason as to why you're sticking with
> 2.8.1.0.1?

I don't mess with huge software packages that lack decent safety nets.
LILO makes it easy to drop back to a known good kernel. If I upgrade
binutils to something that won't work, I have a fairly serious problem.
The only thing worse is a bad libc.

I do not remember ever needing a tool upgrade to compile Linux.
I've been running Linux since the 1.0.x days, generally keeping
my development tools for a couple of years.

>> Another reason: People who can write 16-bit x86 assembly are likely to
>> be ex-DOS hackers with MASM and TASM experience. To them, gas syntax
>> may be hard to use.
>
> Well, that reason I find somewhat hard to swallow. The as86 syntax used in
> the boot code is an *outcast* amongst the hundreds of other lines of gas
> style asm (albeit most is gcc inline'd) sprinkled throughout the kernel.
>
> AT&T syntax has been the preferred and default style of every *NIX
> system for as long as I can remember.

AT&T does not make x86 processors. Traditional UNIX hackers don't do
16-bit Intel assembly. You might as well argue about VAX assembly
syntax with an IBM mainframe hacker. AT&T is irrelevant here.

> Then again, I'm not against using say NASM for the boot code. I actually
> somewhat prefer it's simplicity of syntax, full documentation and the fact
> that it's pretty actively maintained right now. But I'd hate to bring in
> another outside prerequisite to compiling the kernel.

NASM is no problem at all. If the install fails, I can compile it again.
With a binutils upgrade, a failed install means I have to find my CD-ROM.

> Right now it stands as (approximately): gcc, binutils, as86/ld86.
> With this patch: gcc, binutils (which are pretty much guaranteed to be
> installed)

binutils (the version you want) is not likely to be installed.
Not even Red Hat 6.0 has what you want, and I don't see why I should
have to bother with that anyway.

> Would a patch in the same vein, but geared toward NASM be acceptable?

One of the boot code authors has already posted his approval, so I'd
say this is acceptable to old x86 hackers. Go right ahead. NASM is an
easy upgrade, since nothing else depends on it working correctly.

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