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One spur behind BFD was the desire, on the part of the GNU 960 team at Intel Oregon, for interoperability of applications on their COFF and b.out file formats. Cygnus was providing GNU support for the team, and was contracted to provide the required functionality.
The name came from a conversation David Wallace was having with Richard Stallman about the library: RMS said that it would be quite hard--David said "BFD". Stallman was right, but the name stuck.
At the same time, Ready Systems wanted much the same thing, but for different object file formats: IEEE-695, Oasys, Srecords, a.out and 68k coff.
BFD was first implemented by members of Cygnus Support; Steve
email@example.com), John Gilmore
firstname.lastname@example.org), K. Richard Pixley (
and David Henkel-Wallace (
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