ANNOUNCE: DJGPP port of GNU binutils 2.37 uploaded.

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Juan Manuel Guerrero ( [via]

Nov 25, 2021, 1:13:55 AM11/25/21
This is a port of GNU binutils 2.37 to MSDOS/DJGPP.

The GNU binutils are utilities of use when dealing with binary files,
either object files or executables. These tools consist of the linker
(ld), the assembler (gas), and the profiler (gprof). There is also a
collection of other binary tools, including the disassembler (objdump).
These tools make use of a pair of libraries (bfd and opcodes) and a
common set of header files.

DJGPP specific changes.

- There are no DJGPP specific changes compared with the previous port.
The DJGPP specific changes enumerated below are the same than the ones
already available in the previous port.

- This port allows a maximal number of 4294967296 relocations per object
file and a maximal number of 4294967296 of lines per executable file.
The previous limits were the classical COFF limitations of 65536 for

- The support of more than 64k relocations can be disabled by defining the
DISABLE_64K_RELOC_SUPPORT environment variable to either y or Y. Any
other value is ignored and automatically enables the greather than 64k
relocations support. The same applies if the variable is not defined at
all. This is true for all applications linked with libbfd.a if and only
if they call the bfd_init function that will check for this environment
variable. If this is not done the support is always enabled. All this
means that the enabled support is always the default.

- The linker script changes, are based on the diff files taken from Andris
Pavenis' and djcross-binutils-2.19.1-10ap.src.rpm. Both are
available at and mirrors.
I have only made those adjustments necessaries to get those patches fit
with the current source files.

- The diffs file that contains all changes I have done is stored in the
/djgpp directory. Also in this directory is stored the small
script that I have used to adjust all configure and libtool scripts of
the package. The well known issues that must been fixed are that:
1) the gawk test for setting the CR coding to be used does not work at
2) inhibit that gawk prepends a leading slash to DOS style path names.
3) a libtool function needs to be adjusted to get the install target
4) the target alias is removed from the tooldir and scriptdir path to
get the programs and linker scripts installed in the canonical places
of a DJGPP installation.
That script is very simple and will only work to configure and compile
the sources in the /djgpp directory. If you want to make changes or pass
more or other options to configure, you will have to edit it or write your
own script. shall not be smart, it shall only DTRT.

- The diffs file stored in the /djgpp directory documents the DJGPP specific
changes. It has been split into three different files. diffs-bfd contains
all DJGPP specific changes to libbfd and libiberty. These changes are
shared with the DJGPP port of gdb. The diffs file contains all DJGPP
specific changes for the rest of binutils. The diffs-bugs file contain
those DJGPP specific changes to fix bugs discovered during porting of
binutils. If these changes are accepted by the binutils maintainers or
the bug is fixed in some other way then this file will be removed for the
next port release. All these files are located in the /djgpp directory.
If you want to apply them to the original sources, diffs and diffs-bfd
must be apllied first (in any order) and diffs-bugs always as last one.
The elf support has proven not to work so it no longer provided at all.

- This port provides a version of the linker that will be capable to resolve
multiple symbol definitions conflicts when using DXE3 modules. Multiple
symbol definition always occure when an application is linked with various
libraries and more than one of its provides an object file defining the
same function (symbol). E.g.: when compiling an arbitrary GNU source
package like grep with NLS enabled and using the DXE3 module versions of
the iconv library and the gettext library, a definition of the locale_charset
function (aka symbol) will appear three times. One definition (aka
function implementation) will be provided by the grep code itself via its
own code (aka libgreputils.a). The other two will be provided by the import
libraries libiconv.a and libintl.a of both DXE3 modules used. The linker
will note that the different libraries provide different implementations of
the same function and will abort operation with an error message like this:

c:/djgpp-2.04/lib/libintl.a(dxe_tmp.o):dxe_tmp.c:(.text+0x7a4): multiple definition of `locale_charset'
./lib/libgreputils.a(localcharset.o):h:/g/srcs/gnu/grep-2.18/_build.204/lib/.././../lib/localcharset.c:363: first defined here
c:/djgpp-2.04/lib/libiconv.a(dxe_tmp.o):dxe_tmp.c:(.text+0x248): multiple definition of `locale_charset'
./lib/libgreputils.a(localcharset.o):h:/g/srcs/gnu/grep-2.18/_build.204/lib/.././../lib/localcharset.c:363: first defined here
collect2.exe: error: ld returned 1 exit status

In case of multiple symbol definitions, the linker will check if one of
the definitions comes from an import library (all import libraries contain
only one single object file called either dxe_tmp.o or $$dxe$$.o).
If the symbol definition is stored in a file called dxe_tmp.o, all other
definitions will be ignored/discarded. This means that the symbol
definition of the DXE3 module has __always__ precedence over any other
symbol definition. This will guarantee that all compiled programs that
use the same DXE3 module will use at runtime the same implementation of
the required function and not a particular implementation provided by the
sources of the program being compiled. That implementation may not even
have been ported to djgpp and thus will be useless at all. There is no
linker switch to change this behaviour and to give any other function
implementation precedence over the DXE3 implementation. If more than one
import library provides a definition for the same symbol, always the first
is used and all other import library definitions are ignored. This is not
an issue because the import libraries only provide wrapper functions that
call at runtime the real functions stored in the DXE3 modules and these
wrapper functions look all the same. Without this capability, the DXE3
modules become almost useless for NLS support, because the porter of every
package that has NLS enabled would have to take care to remove all NLS
specific functions from the port code that are already provided either by
the gettext library or by the iconv library. Please note that the linker
cannot resolve any other multiple symbol definition conflict than the one
described for the DXE3 modules. Of course, if static library versions of
those NLS libraries are used, these symbol conflicts do not arise at all
and the linker creates an executable in the usual way. To be able to
compile the linker with this feature you must uncomment the line that
defines the DXE3_SUPPORT_ENABLED variable in the /djgpp/ file.

- There are ports like the one of GNU gettext that provide libraries with
file names that cannot be uniquely mapped to short file names without
using numeric tails. Usualy in this case the files are renamed so they
have a valid short file name without having to use numeric tails. The
consecuence of this renaming is that a lot of Makefiles need to be
adjusted in a DJGPP/DOS specific way. To avoid this inconvenience, this
version of the linker will provide a mapping feature between the original
long file names and the DOS specific short file names. This port provides
a new file called located in /dev/env/DJDIR/lib. When the
linker tries to open a library with its original name and failes, it will
try to open /dev/env/DJDIR/lib/ and load it content into a
static array/table. With the aid of this table it will try to map the
long file name to a short file name. If this mapping is succesfull it
will try to load that file instead of the original one and if this was
also succesfull it will continue working. For every other library that
cannot be loaded by its original name, the linker will search for an
alternative name in the array/table and load that library instead. Please
note that you cannot specific the location of If required,
the linker will load it from the canonical location and there will be no
error message if cannot be found or loaded. If the linker
cannot load the library neither by its original name nor by its short
name it will abort the operation in the usual way and issue an error
message about file loading error printing the original file name.
The syntax for the entries is quite simple and the scanning/reading of
the file is not bullet-proof. This means that syntax errors will not be
detected and will produce nonsense file name translations that will very
likely make abort the linker. I do not think that this is a great
inconvenience because most of the users should never add any entry to
this file. It is the job of the port of some package that must provide
an update of if his port contains renamed libraries.
Syntax of entries:
1) The # character defines comment line that will be skipped.
The comment is the complete line and NOT only the text following the
# character!
2) Empty lines will be skipped.
3) A valid entry looks like:

withverylongname-1.2 wvln12

Neither the prefix nor the suffix/extension of the library name is
part of the table entry. For the above example the complete file
name of the library would be:
To get a valid entry strip the prefix "lib" and the suffix ".a" from
the library name. The same applies to the short file name of the
library. In the example above, the library has been renamed to:
and that is the file name of the library that the linker will use.
The original file name is always the first name and the substitute
file name is the second name. Both names are separated by at least
one space or tab character.
Another example: the gettext port provides a library that has been
renamed to libgtxtsrc.a. Its original name was libgettextsrc.a.
The entry for this library looks like this:

gettextsrc gtxtsrc

As can be seen the "lib" prefix and the ".a" suffix have been stripped
from both library names to get the table entry. In the actual version
of there are only the three entries for the three renamed
libraries provided by the gettext port.

- For performance reasons, BFD tries to open and cache certain amount of
files and its contents. How many files can be opened is determinated at
program start using the getrlimit function. Unfortunately this function
seems to be a placebo function. At least when using djdev204 on WinXP,
this function always returns the hard coded value of 255. This is the
value for the number of files that can be opened (RLIMIT_NOFILE). BFD
takes one eight of this value but at least 10 and opens so mutch files
as required. If your FILES entry in config.sys is not large enough (at
least around 35) then the program aborts. The corresponding BFD function
now assumes that there are at least 16 available and will use all of them
if required. This has the consequence that the user must set his FILES
entry in config.sys or config.nt to 20 or 25. The value depends on how
much file handles the OS and the DPMI server has already consumed for its
on needs.

- The port has been configured and compiled on WinXP SP3 and on Win98SE.
There is no guarantee that this may be possible with any other DOS-like
OS. Due to the use of long file names it will not be possible to
configure and compile without LFN support. The port has been compiled
using gcc346b and bnu237b.

- The port has been tested by using it. I have used them only on WinXP,
Win98SE, MS-DOS 7.0 and MS-DOS 6.22. It has worked flawlessly. I do
not konw if this will ever be the case on FreeDOS. I have never used
nor tested them on that environment.

As usual, all djgpp specific files (, diffs, README files, etc.)
are stored in the /djgpp directory. The sources have not been configured
so you must change into the /djgpp directory and start This will
configure the sources and start make.

For further information about Binutils please read the info docs and NEWS

The port consists of the usual four packages that have been produced using
djdev205 (CVS repository code) and can be downloaded from
and mirrors as (time stamp 2021-11-24):

Binutils 2.37 binaries, info and man format documentation:

Binutils 2.37 bfd, liberty and opcode libraries and headers:

Binutils 2.37 dvi, html, ps and pdf format documentation:

Binutils 2.37 source:

Send GNU binutils specific bug reports to <>.
Send suggestions and bug reports concerning the DJGPP port to
comp.os.msdos.djgpp or <>.


Guerrero, Juan Manuel <>

J.W. Jagersma ( [via]

Nov 25, 2021, 7:07:40 AM11/25/21
On 2021-11-25 06:54, Juan Manuel Guerrero ( [via] wrote:
> This is a port of GNU binutils 2.37 to MSDOS/DJGPP.

Hi, thanks for this release.

>   - The linker script changes, are based on the diff files taken from Andris
>     Pavenis' and djcross-binutils-2.19.1-10ap.src.rpm.  Both are
>     available at and mirrors.
>     I have only made those adjustments necessaries to get those patches fit
>     with the current source files.

Recent binutils (>= 2.35) and gcc (>= 10.1) will create .bss.* sections with
the correct attributes, so this hack is no longer necessary. Same applies to
lib/djgpp.djl in CVS. I think I mentioned this before, but maybe I forgot.

Juan Manuel Guerrero ( [via]

Nov 25, 2021, 11:47:26 AM11/25/21
Is this also true for the users of gcc 3.4.6 and gcc 2.8.N?

Juan M. Guerrero

J.W. Jagersma ( [via]

Nov 25, 2021, 3:56:16 PM11/25/21
No, only gcc 10 creates these sections with the correct attributes. It does so
by emitting a "b" flag on the .section directive, eg.:

.globl _foo
.space 4

Then the assembler from binutils 2.35+ makes sure the CONTENTS / LOAD / DATA
attributes for that section are cleared.

For older gcc versions, this linker script workaround is actually incomplete:
the CONTENTS attribute will also be set on '.gnu.linkonce.b.*' sections. So
you would have to link those sections in '.data' too, but that will then waste
more space for gcc 10 users. I think it's best to just remove it.

If you want a universal solution that works for all gcc versions, then we need
to find some way of determining section attributes in binutils/bfd, based on
the section name. I believe that is how these are handled in ELF.

Juan Manuel Guerrero ( [via]

Jan 9, 2022, 1:48:18 PMJan 9
Am Thu, 25 Nov 2021 06:54:25 +0100
schrieb "Juan Manuel Guerrero ( [via]":

> This is a port of GNU binutils 2.37 to MSDOS/DJGPP.

Due to the issue reported by Jamie Bainbridge in:
and another issue found by me also related to the file handling, I have
decided to delete the DJGPP port of binutils 2.37 and to replace it again
with the port of binutils 2.35.1. The zip files are those ones that have
been stored in the "deleted" directory. From a DJGPP specific point of
view I am not aware of any benefit of using binutils 2.37. When I have
some time I will check what has been broken in the DJGPP port.

The port consists of the usual four packages that have been produced using
djdev205 (CVS repository code) and can be downloaded from
and mirrors as (time stamp 2022-01-08):

Binutils 2.35.1 binaries, info and man format documentation:

Binutils 2.35.1 bfd, liberty and opcode libraries and headers:

Binutils 2.35.1 dvi, html, ps and pdf format documentation:

Binutils 2.35.1 source:

Juan M. Guerrero
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