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OMF records (Developers)

posted by marcov(R), 20.02.2012, 18:54

> Modula-3 is pretty cool, but it's main advantages (OOP, generics,
> exceptions, threads, garbage collection) have all been taken over
> (literally) by Java, Python, C#. Others later gained similar features
> (Ada95, C++98, Delphi).

Having features and applying them succesfully is something different. I can remember being significantly underwhelmed by what was presented by specially M3.

Oberon I only got in the earlier mentioned Dos Oberon environment emulation.

> Oberon is nice but probably too minimal for most people as it lacks
> generics, threads, exceptions, and sometimes implementations lack garbage
> collection too.

IIRC one of them also missed unsigned types, making hardware interfacing harder than necessary.

> In other words, there's a lot of competing languages with similar features,
> so there is less reason to try alternatives.

No, I tested M3 and Oberon all in Dos times, so before I knew any of the others. It was in my Modula2 times before Free Pascal.

> It's just a (very) rough guess at what
> people use.

IMHO not even that.

> > But maybe that is the solution? Start adding relevant OMF support to the
> > above watcom linker?
> As mentioned, it has support, but obviously there are some hidden quirks
> that need to be ironed out. WLINK is less of a generic OMF linker and more
> of a "this is what our compiler uses" thing.

So fix it :-)

> > I react to your repeated statements about the 32/64-bit open source crowd
> > not caring. It is not their task. It is the task of the 16-bit users
> > themselves, and them alone.
> Specifically, I meant several things here:
> * Their OSes never supported 16-bit (or at least not recently or directly,
> e.g. Win64)

In that specific (win64) case: not even reasonably possible

> * They never used or needed OMF, even the 32-bit extensions
> * They don't care about binary compatibility, esp. with other OSes
> * They nowadays focus more on C/C++ (POSIX) or C#/Java, etc.

I think in the future platforms in general will be less open to not vendor supported development toolchains.

> I didn't mean they have to support 16-bit, just that they don't, for
> various reasons. (Though Windows should have no good excuse, but sigh, lost
> cause.)

I disagree there.

> > > [OMF is] standardized, just nobody cares because they "moved on" to
> newer,
> > > shinier things. Doesn't mean either is better or worse,
> >
> > You should go into politics :-)
> Face it, the native preferred format of Win9x/NT was PE/COFF.


> Presumably
> some toolsets only used OMF because it was good enough and were able to
> reuse pre-existing tools. That's normal, nobody rewrites everything from
> scratch.

Or they were relatively big in win3.1x. Everybody dealt with 3 OSes (dos,win32s, win32) differently. Some that kept to dos skipped win3.1x (win32s) all together

> > > And for the record, *nix weenies hate a.out and COFF for being old and
> > > badly spec'd, but praise the newer ELF as only thing worth supporting.
> >
> > True. Coff would be dead if it wasn't for Windows supporting derivates.
> But
> > that is a decision taken already in the 1997 timeframe, hardly new.
> COFF has a variety of (minor?) problems, hence a few weird extensions to it
> have been done over the years. DJGPP (and EMX and original Linux) all used
> a.out originally. Supposedly DJGPP switched to COFF for various reasons
> (1992?) because it was "best at the time" (pre-existing BinUtils
> support??).

Maybe also OS/2 is a reason (LE instead of PE). OMF was the ugliest child in the class, and there was no good reason to choose it

But it could also be related to what the dosextender supported.

>I can only guess WinNT chose it due to Cutler's VMS (ECOFF??)
> history. Linux switched to ELF for better .so support (among other things,
> e.g. debugging, better C++ handling, etc).

And a better debugging format. Though dwarf is still slow in the coming.

> > Personally, I think because of zero activity.
> I don't know, you never know with them (weird political decisions), but
> four of their seven "top tier" platforms for GCC 4.7.0 are Linux
> (presumably ELF) for various architectures. See
> here. And they already
> removed "generic" COFF and such things a while ago.

That's not strange, cygnus being owned by Redhat.

> > The point is that as long as people are willing to work on something it
> is
> > not dead. But that is the problem with Dos. The bulk are users, not
> makers,
> > at least in the programming tools department.
> Windows just buys whatever tech they need. *nix just copies Linux (or POSIX
> standard), no brainer, esp. with commercial support from all the weird
> hardware makers out there.

Either way, there is activity, and they manage to hold up their belt.

They don't stand at the sidelines waiting it to be handed to them.

> > > I'd rather not install Oberon OS just to learn Oberon.
> >
> > IIRC there was an Oberon environment that ran on top of Dos? Called
> > "SYSTEM" or something.
> Last updated in 1999 or 2001 or such. You really think it'll work on modern
> machines?

Dos is very compatible I'm told :-)

But did you even try? It could be it requires special videocard drivers, maybe it already uses vesa.

> In case you didn't already know, a lot of things break because of
> bad assumptions (esp. re: memory handling). I could be wrong, but I'm
> highly skeptical. However, I don't see how patching that is somehow
> superior to patching this (Oberon-M).

Depends on what you are interested in.

> > Doesn't produce Oberon binaries for use outside that environment, but if
> > learning is the only reason? SPecially since one of the charms of Oberon
> > was the integration with an OOP OS.
> The whole point (to me) is to see what I can do portably, and I didn't lose
> my interest in DOS. So I want something that (also) works here. I don't
> want "yet another" Linux/Win/Mac only tool.

Well, you are probably the only one in the world with that preference. So the answer is in what you make of it :)

> > Please :-) Everytime you can't find something it is the old
> > "Linux/BSD/blabla don't care" Calimero argument. And that is usually my
> > trigger :)
> They don't care, they openly admit such. It's not just a passive
> disinterest (although that's mostly true), it's downright refusal to help
> with anything outside of their narrow view of the software world.

No. It is that they are the boss of their own time, and you can't willy-nilly commandeer that.

> > No. I'm expecting you to start working on creation of the tools you
> miss,
> > instead of constantly trying to dig into aeons old dirt in the home it

... "in the hope" obviously.

> My point isn't useless whining, it's that things did in fact used to work
> but don't anymore.

yes. And you require effort from others to keep it working for you, and you expect them all to stand up and bow at your call, and are frustrated if they aren't.

It takes time and effort to keep stuff running.

> Software makers refuse to even waste time on DOS. They won't even test in
> DOSEMU. Sometimes they won't even accept patches. They literally just don't
> care.

Of course they don't. Most of them haven't cared for 10 years. It is dead and buried with a ten ton tombstone on top.

The question is why that surprises you still after all this time doing dos.

And how much more you have to hear that before stop asking, and simply either adjust your preferences and requirements (and use what is there rather than go from one hopeless mission to the next trying to be the Guardian Angel of Lost languages on Lost Platforms.), or make a choice, and stick to it for a non trivial amount of time, and simply hit it so hard, and so long till it does what you want.

> Now admittedly most of them don't directly try to piss me off, but
> sometimes I just gotta wonder, "WHY???"

Maintenance costs time.

> I mean, so much for portability if
> you assume POSIX, it really kills everything else. I'm surprised Windows
> has lasted this long with such horrible POSIX-only software out there.

The compatibility is what keeps Windows afloat. Exactly the problem you describe for dos, but then applied to nineties and turn of the century win32 software. Microsoft has made a business model out of it. All the "new" stuff is just to avoid the competition getting so big it hurts the core business. (though admitted, they failed horribly at that wrt Apple)

> I'm also surprised DJGPP ever worked with anything considering all the horrible ideas that come from *nix.

Open source unix. Commercial unix is way better backwards compatible.

> In fact, I even wonder if DJGPP is to blame. It "eased" the translation of
> POSIX stuff to DOS (and partially Windows) instead of promoting more
> portable code. But instead of people caring about this end, they went more
> in the other direction of "more POSIX, more arcane, even less portable",
> which is frustrating.

I don't see POSIX as such a magic word (or even as somethign concrete). So I don't agree here.

> I know, it doesn't matter. I need to do everything myself (eh??). I should
> make my own compilers, OSes, quit whining, start learning.

If you care enough to do two years of similar tirades here, then yes, make a list, take the one closest to the top, compromise to make it doable, and start working.

Flaming here isn't going to solve anything, except feeding your own frustrations.

> Okay, rant over. I'm just saying, it's a lot easier to just stick with what
> you've got.

well, spoken as a real DOSSer :-)


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