COFF questions

Jeffrey B. Messinger <>
Mon, 11 Feb 91 12:22:28 -0500

          From comp.compilers

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Newsgroups: comp.compilers
From: Jeffrey B. Messinger <>
Keywords: assembler, linker
Organization: Compilers Central
Date: Mon, 11 Feb 91 12:22:28 -0500

I am interested in finding references to COFF. I have the Nutshell handbook
by Gintaras R. Gircys that has some information on COFF. Currently, I do not
have access to any System V documentation. In particular, I have the
following questions about COFF:

1. What is ECOFF and how does it differ from COFF. Is ECOFF part of System V?

2. Are there any other standards for extensible Unix object file formats.
      Is there an extensible standard supported by either OSF or BSD.

3. In the Nutshell book, it is stated that COFF can be extended (COFF
      extensions for the National Semiconductor 32000 series are mentioned
      as an example). Are there any specific guidelines to follow when
      extending COFF. Is there more to extending COFF than changing the
      data structures and modifying code for the different tools (assemblers,
      compilers, link editors, library maintainers, etc.) that support COFF.

Thanks in advance.
Jeff Messinger Internet:
Department of Electrical Engineering Voice: (919) 660-5268
Duke University
Durham, NC 27706

[COFF is the object format for System V.3. V.4 has a new, different, object
format called ELF which is the topic of lively discussion on the plsig
mailing list, particularly in the area of debugging extensions. OSF/1 has
something called ROSE which is based on the BSD object format. You can
extend COFF or any other object format by modifying the programs that produce,
consume, and transform object files, but having done so you can't expect any
programs other than yours to understand your format. I find COFF to be far
more complex than it needs to be to do what Unix systems ask of it, and
would doubt that it's worthwhile to put much effort into new COFF tools.
If you're interested in the plsig list, write to plsig-request@uiunix.UI.ORG.

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