Support for alpha-osf, mips-irix

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Support for alpha-osf, mips-irix

Rainer Orth-2
Every once in a while I come across references to Tru64 UNIX
(alpha*-dec-osf*) and SGI IRIX in the binutils-gdb tree.  This seems
strange given that the last versions supported by GCC (Tru64 UNIX V5.1
and IRIX 6.5) were obsoleted in GCC 4.7 back in 2012 and removed in GCC
4.8.  GDB took a bit longer, but GDB 7.9 removed support for both as
well in 2015, although a few references have been overlooked.

Both platforms are long obsolete and I strongly suspect there's no one
to benefit from continued support (whatever that means) in binutils alone.

Any objections to removing support completely?  I'm not yet certain how
either or both is entangled with code for other targets still supported
(alpha-linux, mips-linux).

There's even more prehistoric cruft, btw., e.g. references to
mips-ultrix ;-)

        Rainer

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Rainer Orth, Center for Biotechnology, Bielefeld University
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Re: Support for alpha-osf, mips-irix

Maciej W. Rozycki
On Thu, 9 Jul 2020, Rainer Orth wrote:

> Every once in a while I come across references to Tru64 UNIX
> (alpha*-dec-osf*) and SGI IRIX in the binutils-gdb tree.  This seems
> strange given that the last versions supported by GCC (Tru64 UNIX V5.1
> and IRIX 6.5) were obsoleted in GCC 4.7 back in 2012 and removed in GCC
> 4.8.  GDB took a bit longer, but GDB 7.9 removed support for both as
> well in 2015, although a few references have been overlooked.
>
> Both platforms are long obsolete and I strongly suspect there's no one
> to benefit from continued support (whatever that means) in binutils alone.
>
> Any objections to removing support completely?  I'm not yet certain how
> either or both is entangled with code for other targets still supported
> (alpha-linux, mips-linux).

 Technically we could delete the IRIX configuration triplets, but that
does not buy us much as they use ELF (a peculiar variation of, e.g. the
sort order of the symbol table is different from generic ELF), so painful
extraction of dead pieces of ELF support code would be required, and then
parts of IRIX 5 ELF format support, which the IRIX 6 ELF format has some
further differences from, are used by some embedded MIPS targets, so parts
of that code would have to stay.  Not worth the effort IMO.

 Then IRIX test results look so-so mostly due to the ELF peculiarity
causing output not to match regexps, but overall there's nothing wrong
there AFAIK, just the missing manpower to clean the tests up (I did some
of that work back when MIPS target maintenance was a part of my dayjob).  
Similar failures happen for the affected embedded targets, although
they're limited to tests that do not require shared library support.

> There's even more prehistoric cruft, btw., e.g. references to
> mips-ultrix ;-)

 That (ECOFF) has been deleted AFAIK, except for minimal BFD support to
keep `objcopy' to/from ELF working, to satisfy the requirement of some
bootloaders fixed in the firmware.  Of course the removal of the remaining
pieces made code verification a tad problematic (perhaps we could have a
binutils/ test that runs `objcopy' both ways and checks basic consistency
though).

  Maciej
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Re: Support for alpha-osf, mips-irix

Rainer Orth-2
In reply to this post by Rainer Orth-2
Hi Alan,

> On Thu, Jul 09, 2020 at 04:21:54PM +0200, Rainer Orth wrote:
>> Every once in a while I come across references to Tru64 UNIX
>> (alpha*-dec-osf*)
>
> If you'd like to remove this config triple I think you could go ahead,
> but it doesn't buy us much really unless alpha-linuxecoff is also
> removed.  I'm unsure as to how much use alpha-linuxecoff gets these
> days.  Probably not much.  It looks like it was removed from gcc in
> 2002.

indeed, just like MIPS/ECOFF.  That's my point about those removals: if
there isn't a current version of GCC to support the targets, keeping
binutils support doesn't buy anyone a thing, not even the enthusiasts
that keep those machines alive.

One might include those targets in config.bfd's list of obsolete targets
on the 2.35 branch so potential remaining users get prominent notice
about the removal.  Than at some point during the 2.36 cycle they could
be removed unless someone steps up to do the maintenance.

        Rainer

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Rainer Orth, Center for Biotechnology, Bielefeld University