Unix-on-Intel players work on a common binary format

October 10th, 1997

Dear Debian users and developers,

Here's an announcement from the 86open project, a project to make binary compatibility across all Unix variants on Intel architectures. In short, it's an effort to support ELF LIBC6 executables on all of the platforms, so that vendors can build a single application that runs on all Intel Unix variants. As you can see from the announcement, this project already has a substantial amount of commercial support.

I think this has much more of a chance to succeed where previous Unix standardization efforts have fallen short. Rather than produce a paper standard, the project will release a reference implementation that runs on the various platforms. Because this will be free software, the cost of implementing compatibility will be much lower than that of implementing new software to run a paper standard.

The fact that commercial Unix vendors are turning to free software for this solution is a real triumph for the free software movement, and one I expect to see repeated. I'm happy to see the major Linux distributions represented on the steering committee along with the largest commercial Unix vendors, and I'm proud to represent Debian on this project.


        Bruce Perens

Full text of the announcement.