[TUHS] Origins of the SGS (System Generation Software) and COFF (Common Object File Format)
segaloco via TUHS
tuhs at tuhs.org
Fri Feb 24 08:11:31 AEST 2023
Basic-16......augh I feel like I actually saw a Basic-16 eval board of some kind pop up in auctions in my documentation search the past few years. I thought about bidding but I didn't, could've had some cool hardware to reply back with pictures of. Lesson learned, if something catches my attention enough I should probably research it more closely.
Thanks for the article link, that pretty much captures the sort of "origin story" I was seeking out on both the tools and format. I now realize I could've known this already but didn't read far enough in the '84 Bell journal, I've got copies of that and the '78 one, I forget how many juicy details are in there that didn't make it into manuals and technical reports. All the more reason to go back through and take some notes...
- Matt G.
------- Original Message -------
On Thursday, February 23rd, 2023 at 1:37 PM, Paul Ruizendaal <pnr at planet.nl> wrote:
> > Date: Thu, 23 Feb 2023 18:38:25 +0000
> > Subject: [TUHS] Re: Origins of the SGS (System Generation Software)
> > and COFF (Common Object File Format)
> > For the sake of timelines:
> > June 1980 - Publication date on the front page of the 3.0 manual in which the utilities are still very much research for PDP-11 and 32V-ish for VAX where distinctions matter.
> > June 1981 - Publication date on the front page of the 4.1 manual in which the man-pages very much refer to all of this as the "3B-20 object format"
> > June 1982 - Publication date on the front page of the 5.0 manual by which point these same pages had been edited and extended to describe the "common object file format"
> > Additions at the 1981 release include dump(1), list(1), and the ld-prefixed library routines for managing these object files. These likewise persist in 5.0, SysV, and beyond as COFF-related tools.
> > So this puts the backstop of what would become COFF at at least '81.
> > - Matt G.
> The surviving source code for SysV R2 supports this timeline:
> - The header files (start from https://github.com/ryanwoodsmall/oldsysv/blob/master/sysvr2-vax/src/head/a.out.h) have dates of late ’82, early ’83.
> - The source for exec() has a comment that refers to the 4xx magic formats as “pre 5.0 stuff”.
> - The COFF format headers are #ifdef’ed for the 3B series.
> Interestingly, the lowest magic numbers in the 5xx series are not for the 3B, but for the “Basic-16” and for the “x86”. That led me to this paper:
> It seems that the roots of COFF go back to the initial portability effort for V7 and in particular the 8086 port (which was done in 1978 according to the paper).
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