Program that runs on windows and linux

Issue

Is it possible to write a program (make executable) that runs on windows and linux without any interpreters?
Will it be able to take input and print output to console?
A program that runs directly on hardware, pure machine code as this should be possible in theory

edit:
Ok, file formats are different, system calls are different
But how hard or is it possible for kernel developers to introduce another executable format called raw for fun and science? Maybe raw program wont be able to report back but it should be able to inflict heavy load on cpu and raise its temperature as evidence of running for example

Solution

Is it possible to write a program (make executable) that runs on windows and linux without any interpreters?

in practice, no !

Levine’s book Linkers and loaders explain why it is not possible in practice.

On recent Linux, an executable has the elf(5) format.

On Windows, it has some PE format.

The very first bytes of executables are different. And these two OSes have different system calls. The Linux ones are listed in syscalls(2).

And even on Linux, in practice, an executable is usually dynamically linked and depends on shared objects (and they are different from one distribution to the next one, so it is likely that an executable built for Debian/Testing won’t run on Redhat). You could use the objdump(1), readelf(1), ldd(1) commands to inspect it, and strace(1) with gdb(1) to observe its runtime behavior.

Portability of software is often achieved by publishing it (in source form) with some open source license. The burden of recompilation is then on the shoulders of users.

In practice, real software (in particular those with a graphical user interface) depends on lots of OS specific and computer specific resources (e.g. fonts, screen size, colors) and user preferences.

A possible approach could be to have a small OS specific software base which generate machine code at runtime, like e.g. SBCL or LuaJit does. You could also consider using asmjit. Another approach is to generate opaque or obfuscated C or C++ code at runtime, compile it (with the system compiler), and load it -at runtime- as a plugin. On Linux, use dlopen(3) with dlsym(3).

Pitrat’s book: Artificial Beings, the conscience of a conscious machine describes a software system (some artificial mathematician) which generates all of its C source code (half a million lines).

The Wine emulator allows you to run some (but not all) simple Windows executables on Linux. The WSL layer is rumored to enable you to run some Linux executable on Windows.

PS. Even open source projects like RefPerSys or GCC or Qt may be (and often are) difficult to build.

Answered By – Basile Starynkevitch

This Answer collected from stackoverflow, is licensed under cc by-sa 2.5 , cc by-sa 3.0 and cc by-sa 4.0

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