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Each link stage has a different view of the image.
The image views are:
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.
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.
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:
One or more execution regions make up a load region.
With armlink, the maximum size of a program segment is 2GB.
When describing a memory view:
The term root region means a region that has the same load and execution addresses.
Load regions are equivalent to ELF segments.
The following figure shows the relationship between the views at each link stage: