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SubjectRe: [PATCH] x86: Deprecate a.out support
On Mon, Mar 11, 2019 at 2:34 PM Arnd Bergmann <arnd@arndb.de> wrote:
>
> The main historic use case I've heard of was running Netscape
> Navigator on Alpha Linux, before there was an open source version.
> Doing this today to connect to the open internet is probably
> a bit pointless, but there may be other use cases.

The _really_ main version was that I decided to make my life easier
for the initial alpha port by trying to run basic (tested) OSF/1
binaries directly.

Netscape may have been one of the binaries people actually ended up
using, but it's probably not a reason any more, since the internet has
moved past that anyway.

> Looking at the system call table in the kernel
> (arch/alpha/kernel/syscalls/syscall.tbl), we seem to support a
> specific subset that was required for a set of applications, and
> not much more.

Yeah, it never supported arbitrary binaries, particularly since
there's often lots of other issues too with running things like that
(ie filesystem layout etc). It worked for normal fairly well behaved
stuff, but wasn't ever a full OSF/1 emulation environment.

I _suspect_ nobody actually runs any OSF/1 binaries any more, but it
would obviously be good to verify that. Your argument that timeval
handling was broken _may_ be an indication of that (or may just mean
very few apps care).

I think we should try the a.out removal and see if anybody notices.

Linus

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