Nick Clifton

Born in Canada, raised in the UK. Joined Cygnus in the US, which then became part of Red Hat. Now back in the UK, working remotely and enjoying every minute of it.

Areas of Expertise

Compilers & Linkers

Recent Posts

GNU Toolchain Update – Spring 2018

GNU Toolchain Update – Spring 2018

The GNU Toolchain is a collection of programming tools produced by the GNU Project. The tools are often packaged together due to their common use for developing software applications, operating systems, and low-level software for embedded systems.

This blog is part of a series (see: Fall 2017 Update) covering the latest changes and improvements in the components that make up this Toolchain. Apart from the announcement of new releases, the features described here are at the bleeding edge of software development in the tools. This means that it may be awhile before they make it into production releases, and they might not be fully functional yet. But anyone who is interested in experimenting with them can build their own copy of the Toolchain and then try them out.

Continue reading “GNU Toolchain Update – Spring 2018”

Share
Annobin – Storing Extra Information in Binaries

Annobin – Storing Extra Information in Binaries

Introduction

Compiled files, often called binaries, are a mainstay of modern computer systems. But it is often hard for system builders and users to find out more than just very basic information about these files. The Annobin project exists as means to answer questions like:

  • How was this binary built?
  • What testing was performed on the binary?
  • What sources were used to make the binary ?

The Annobin project is an implementation of the Watermark specification , which details how to record extra information in a binary. One important feature of this specification is that it includes an address range for the information stored. This makes it possible to record the fact that part of a binary was compiled with one set of options and another part was recorded with a different set of options.

Continue reading “Annobin – Storing Extra Information in Binaries”

Share
Fall 2017 GNU Toolchain Update

Fall 2017 GNU Toolchain Update

The GNU Toolchain is a collection of programming tools produced by the GNU Project. The tools are often packaged together due to their common use for developing software applications, operating systems, and low-level software for embedded systems.

This blog is part of a regular series covering the latest changes and improvements in the components that make up this Toolchain. Apart from the announcement of new releases, however, the features described here are at the bleeding edge of software development in the tools. This does mean that it may be a while before they make it into production releases, and they might not be fully functional yet. But anyone who is interested in experimenting with them can build their own copy of the Toolchain and then try them out.

Continue reading “Fall 2017 GNU Toolchain Update”

Share
Summer 2017 GNU Toolchain Update

Summer 2017 GNU Toolchain Update

The GNU Toolchain is a collection of programming tools produced by the GNU Project. The tools are often packaged together due to their common use for developing software applications, operating systems, and low-level software for embedded systems.

This blog is part of a regular series covering the latest changes and improvements in the components that make up this Toolchain. Apart from the announcement of new releases, however, the features described here are at the bleeding edge of software development in the tools. This does mean that it may be a while before they make it into production releases, and they might not be fully functional yet. But anyone who is interested in experimenting with them can build their own copy of the Toolchain and then try them out.

Continue reading “Summer 2017 GNU Toolchain Update”

Share
Spring 2017 GNU Toolchain Update

Spring 2017 GNU Toolchain Update

The GNU Toolchain is a collection of programming tools produced by the GNU Project. The tools are often packaged together due to their common use for developing software applications, operating systems, and low-level software for embedded systems.

This blog is part of a regular series covering the latest changes and improvements in the components that make up this Toolchain. Apart from the announcement of new releases, however, the features described here are at the bleeding edge of software development in the tools. This does mean that it may be a while before they make it into production releases, and they might not be fully functional yet. But anyone who is interested in experimenting with them can build their own copy of the Toolchain and then try them out.

Continue reading “Spring 2017 GNU Toolchain Update”

Share

November 2016 GNU Toolchain Update

The GNU Toolchain is a collection of  programming tools produced by the GNU Project. The tools are often packaged together due to their common use for developing software applications, operating systems, and low level software for embedded systems.

This blog is part of a regular series covering the latest changes and improvements in the components that make up this Toolchain.  Apart from the announcement of new releases however, the features described here are at the very bleeding edge of software development in the tools.  This does mean that it may be a while before they make it into production releases, although interested parties can always build their own copies of the toolchain in order to try them out.

Continue reading “November 2016 GNU Toolchain Update”

Share

August 2016 GNU Toolchain Update

The GNU Toolchain is a collection of  programming tools produced by the GNU Project. The tools are often packaged together due to their common use for developing software applications, operating systems, and low level software for embedded systems.

This blog is part of a regular series covering the latest changes and improvements in the components that make up this Toolchain.  Apart from the announcement of new releases however, the features described here are at the very bleeding edge of software development in the tools.  This does mean that it may be a while before they make it into production releases, although interested parties can always build their own copies of the toolchain in order to try them out.

Continue reading “August 2016 GNU Toolchain Update”

Share

April/May 2016 GNU Toolchain Update

Introduction

The GNU Toolchain is a collection of  programming tools produced by the GNU Project. The tools are often packaged together due to their common use for developing software applications, operating systems, and low level software for embedded systems.

This blog is part of a regular series covering the latest changes and improvements in the components that make up this Toolchain.  Apart from the announcement of new releases however, the features described here are at the very bleeding edge of software development in the tools.  This does mean that it may be a while before they make it into production releases, although interested parties can always build their own copies of the toolchain in order to try them out.

Continue reading “April/May 2016 GNU Toolchain Update”

Share

February/March 2016 GNU Toolchain Update

Introduction

The GNU Toolchain is a collection of  programming tools produced by the GNU Project. The tools are often packaged together due to their common use for developing software applications, operating systems, and low level software for embedded systems.

This blog is part of a regular series covering the latest changes and improvements in the components that make up this Toolchain.  Apart from the announcement of new releases however, the features described here are at the very bleeding edge of software development in the tools.  This does mean that it may be a while before they make it into production releases, although interested parties can always build their own copies of the toolchain in order to try them out.

Continue reading “February/March 2016 GNU Toolchain Update”

Share
December ’15/January ’16 GNU Toolchain Update

December ’15/January ’16 GNU Toolchain Update

First of all I have an apology to make. I managed to reformat my hard drive over the holidays, wiping away all of my notes for this blog. In particular I was contacted by a reader about an enhancement to gcc’s inline assembler support which I have now totally lost. 🙁 So, dear reader, wherever you are, I apologise, and if you contact me again I will make sure that the extended asm enhancement gets mentioned in the next blog post.

The big news, for me at least, is that binutils 2.26 is now out.  This release contains lots of bug fixes of course, plus a few new features:

  • A new configure option:  –enable-compressed-debug-sections=[all,gas,gold,ld,none]
    This decides whether DWARF debug sections should be compressed by default. For now this option is off for all of the tools, although of course it can be enabled via a command line option.  In future releases of binutils however, the option will be enabled by default.
  • Support for the ARC EM/HS and ARC600/700 architectures.
  • Support for the LLVM plugin.
  • Continue reading “December ’15/January ’16 GNU Toolchain Update”

Share