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compatibility of (mips ELF) .o files between binutils versions?

What's the expected ability of releases of binutils to deal with .o
files generated by previous relases?

I ran into a problem w/ compatibility of objects from 2.11.2 to 2.12.1
with mips-elf target, with what i'd _expect_ to be very simple inputs:

        .word bar

built like:

../inst-2.11.2/bin/mips-elf-as -o a.o foo.s
../inst-2.12.1/bin/mips-elf-ld -o b.o -r a.o

the link crashes like:

../inst-2.12.1/bin/mips-elf-ld: BFD 2.12.1 assertion fail elflink.h:6287
Segmentation fault (core dumped)

According to gdb, the segv is at elflink.h:6333.

I note that 'strings' on the 2.11.2 .o file says the strings

are in that object file.  they don't appear in an object file built
with 2.12.1 tools, but those sections are not in the ELF section list
for either object.

Should this be expected to work?  Is it worth debugging, given that
things work just fine if assembly and linking happens w/ the same
version of the tools?

(I'm not really sure where to even begin debugging this...)


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