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Re: Recent removal of a.out and COFF support for sparc

From: Alan Modra
Subject: Re: Recent removal of a.out and COFF support for sparc
Date: Wed, 8 Aug 2018 22:46:59 +0930
User-agent: Mutt/1.9.4 (2018-02-28)

On Wed, Aug 08, 2018 at 11:07:58AM +0200, John Paul Adrian Glaubitz wrote:
> On the other hand, why does bfd even need to be reworked so much?

You'd think that the AOUT and COFF support would be stable by now, and
that's true enough.  There are two or three problems that waste
maintainers time though.

One is that people write fuzzers and take a delight in submitting bug
reports for this old code.  Those bugs take up time Nick and I would
rather spend elsewhere.  I suppose we could just close them as "won't
fix", but they are undeniably bugs, and a bug that crashes a program
might just be exploitable when some luser runs objdump as root.

Another is that people report bugs about leaked memory.  Generally
that's also a "don't care", since none of "ld", "as" or any of the
binutils run as servers.

Finally, when anyone wants to make changes to data structures or
functions used by all the backends, we have to change all this old
code too.

It's not a matter of reworking the code.  No one wants to work on it
at all!  At least, judging by the number of people actively
maintaining most of binutils, that seems to be the case.  Are *you*
interested in maintaining sparc-aout or sparc-coff?  There are sparc
bug reports dating back to 2004 that no one has analyzed!

Alan Modra
Australia Development Lab, IBM

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