It's not really a Linux convention, but a Unix one from the early 1980's before the Linux kernel existed. Of course nearly all Linux-based OS's adopted the convention and have preserved the names (but probably forgotten the original meaning of the acronym. I couldn't for the life of me remember what ELF was an acronym for, but I believe I can guess pretty close. It seems strange that a.out has been preserved lo these many decades as the default executable name. I think naming it the same as the source file containing the main() function would make more sense, but that might not work for languages other than C, for libraries, and etc. I suppose it never will be changed because of backward compatability.
Caution: (semi) spoiler hint:
stretched-out heavy structure
|> What does ELF stand for (in respect to Linux?)
ELF is the first rock group that Ronnie James Dio performed with back in
the early 1970's. In constrast, a.out is a misspelling of the French word
for the month of August. What the two have in common is beyond me, but
Linux users seem to use the two words together.
-- seen on c.o.l.misc
Now the question of its own what does ELF stand for? How many here know the answers without cheating and looking it up? I will post a comment in a few days if I think about it revealing what it means if no one seems to know. Well, is there anything more complicated than figuring out what an elf is?
4 blog comments below
SonLight on Wed Jul 25, 2012 2:28 am
ELF stand for Executable and Linking Format, at least originally. This format was created by USL.Another one that it has stood for is Extended Linux Filesystem. I am sure there are some meanings that it has stood for or stands for that I am currently not aware of.
pauline123 on Thu Jul 26, 2012 3:38 pm
My guess was Extended Load Format, although I wasn't confident that was right. One word out of three! If I remember right, ELF allows some fields to remain relocatable. I was thinking Load for program loader, instead of Linking. a.out was a common name for libraries as well as for ready-to-run programs. I trust that a.out didn't mean much of anything, except the hint that it was an output file.
SonLight on Thu Jul 26, 2012 9:09 pm
I am sure there is more to a.out than meets the eye. That is one area I do not know much about. I do not understand precisely how a.out came about. However, I do know that it is the standard and is expected by some. Whatever its origin is, the one thing I do know about it is that it still is in use.
pauline123 on Fri Jul 27, 2012 8:39 pm