For some strange reason it hardly every occurs to me to benchmark GAP when it comes to linear algebra over GF(2^e). Turns out, that’s a really bad idea as it seems to be the best open-source implementation for such things. For example, computing the reduced row echelon form of a 4,000 x 4,000 random matrix over takes 16.94s in GAP 4.4.12 but 3267s in Sage and 1005s in NTL 5.4.2. So much much faster than other established open-source projects out there.
I hope libgap becomes a reality at some point in the future.
PS: For comparison, Magma does the same task in in 4.67s and M4RIE in 0.71s.