binutils

Greg Schafer gschafer at zip.com.au
Sat Jan 11 18:38:46 PST 2003


On Sat, Jan 11, 2003 at 05:07:25PM -0600, Dagmar d'Surreal wrote:
> On Fri, 2003-01-10 at 13:21, Matthew Reppert wrote:
> > Hi,
> > 
> > Is there a reason we don't use the H. J. Lu binutils releases in the book?
> > I know that (at least) Debian and SuSE use them (but am told that really
> > all
> > major distributions do),
> 
> There's really not much more I can say about this other than it's
> wrong.  Usually these wound up getting used in the past because they had
> patches to fix issues the distribution developers were aware of, but not
> because they were automatically better or something.  They are still
> beta releases, and beta releases are definitely fast-moving targets.

Sorry, but I disagree.

HJ's binutils releases have become the defacto stable release for Linux
distros. Don't let the 90 in the version string fool you. Sure, the code
might be a little less tested, but this is due to the fact that HJ's
releases more closely follow the CVS head.

HJ clearly states that his releases are for Linux only. If you wanted to
install the GNU binutils on your Solaris, Irix, HPUX or whatever box then
you would definitely install the latest FSF release and not HJ's.

Let me summarise it this way:-

FSF Release:
  - Supports more OS's
  - Latest code from the stable branch of CVS
  - Not always up-to-date WRT to latest kernel,gcc,glibc subtleties

HJ Release:
  - For Linux only
  - More closely follows CVS head
  - Contains the latest subtle bug fixes 
  - Usually has latest fixes for non-x86 arches
  - A new release every time a significant bug that affects Linux is fixed
  - Possibly less stable due to newer code
  - Sometimes there is breakage when upgrading to a HJ release immediately
    after release so usually best to wait a week for the dust to settle

> >  and IIRC Alan Cox mentioned on lkml that they have
> > some subtle fixes for Linux on various archs. The Changelogs mention mips
> > and alpha in this respect. They also seem to be preferred according to the
> > kernel documentation (Documentation/Changes mentions that you need
> > 2.9.5.0.25 or greater).
> > 
> > The current version is 2.13.90.0.16 ...
> > ftp://ftp.XX.kernel.org/pub/linux/devel/binutils/
> > (where XX is your country code)
> 
> Anything with a "90" in it can not automatically be assumed to be newer
> than what you might expect.  Always, always, check the timestamps in the
> ChangeLog against the latest non-beta release to figure out which is
> newer, but usually the beta releases don't take an incredibly long time
> to go back into being put on ftp.gnu.org.
> 
> Please search the archives and you'll see where I've explained this in
> detail recently, but suffice it to say that 2.13.90.0.16 is actually
> _older_ than the 2.13.2.1 version found on ftp.gnu.org.

That is simply misleading. The timestamp may be older but see above re which
branch of CVS the code comes from. Please get your facts straight.

FWIW, I have been using HJ's releases on my own systems for the past few
months without problem.

The fact remains that most of the major distros use the HJ releases. I try
to monitor Redhat, Debian and Gentoo and I can certainly confirm that at
least those guys use the HJ releases.

I'm starting to lean towards LFS using the HJ releases.

Greg
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