Noob questions: ELF binaries, a.out, and xmkmf

Matthew Burgess matthew at
Mon Jul 5 15:23:43 PDT 2004

On Mon, 05 Jul 2004 18:11:44 -0400
Steve <beforewisdom at> wrote:

> Hi;
> I decided to be a good boy and read the prerequisites listed in the
> LFS book.
> I just finished the howto on compiling software and I have some
> questions.
> What are "ELF Binaries"?

It's the "Executable and Linking Format".  From what I gather it was/is
an attempt at providing a binary format that is compatible across
unices.  Their predecessor (at least as far as Linux is concerned) was
the 'a.out' format.  Unless you really know what you're doing (and how
to do it!) you will always get (and want to get) ELF binaries.

> If I follow the LFS book with modern hardware will I ever need to deal
> with ELF binaries, a.out binaries, or using xmkmf to make my own make
> files?

You'll get ELF binaries.  No, I doubt you'd need to use xmkmf, and if
you think you do, you probably don't :)

Best regards and good luck with your reading :)


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