3.1.1 Views of the image at each link stage

Each link stage has a different view of the image.

The image views are:

ELF object file view (linker input)

The ELF object file view comprises input sections. The ELF object file can be:

  • A relocatable file that holds code and data suitable for linking with other object files to create an executable or a shared object file.

  • A shared object file that holds code and data.

Linker view

The linker has two views for the address space of a program that become distinct in the presence of overlaid, position-independent, and relocatable program fragments (code or data):

  • The load address of a program fragment is the target address that the linker expects an external agent such as a program loader, dynamic linker, or debugger to copy the fragment from the ELF file. This might not be the address at which the fragment executes.

  • The execution address of a program fragment is the target address where the linker expects the fragment to reside whenever it participates in the execution of the program.

If a fragment is position-independent or relocatable, its execution address can vary during execution.

ELF image file view (linker output)

The ELF image file view comprises program segments and output sections:

  • A load region corresponds to a program segment.

  • An execution region contains one or more of the following output sections:

    • RO section.
    • RW section.
    • XO section.
    • ZI section.

One or more execution regions make up a load region.

Note:

With armlink, the maximum size of a program segment is 2GB.

When describing a memory view:

The following figure shows the relationship between the views at each link stage:

Figure 3-1 Relationship between sections, regions, and segments
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