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This page accurately descibes a computer science linker. You can download a CS linker from Source Forge below. There are also other computer science links below.

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  • Programming Compiled Program Linker Source Forge
  • Computer Science Linker An executable file, library file, or other "object" file is created by combining one or more object files (produced by a compiler or an assembler) using a computer system tool called a linker or link editor. The loader is a less complex variant that writes its output directly to memory, however loading is often regarded as a distinct operation. Computer programs often consist of many parts or modules; in such circumstances, the parts/modules refer to one another using symbols that serve as addresses into other modules, which are then mapped into memory locations when the modules are linked for execution. Three different types of symbols may often be found in an object file.   Local symbols, used internally inside the object file to permit relocation, are "external" symbols that are defined, also known as "public" or "entry" symbols, allowing it to be called by other modules. Undefined "external" symbols point to other modules where these symbols are specified. The majority of compilers produce one output object file for every input source code file they receive. The linker joins the several object files that make up a program into a single executable program while resolving the symbols along the way. A library or runtime library is a collection of items that linkers can use. Most linkers only include the files that are referenced by other object files or libraries; they seldom include the whole library in the output. The process of linking libraries may therefore be iterative, with some referenced modules necessitating the linking of more modules, and so on. There are many different uses for libraries, and by default one or more system libraries are normally linked in.  The arrangement of the objects in the address space of a program is also handled by the linker. This can entail moving code that relies on a given base address to a different base. Since a compiler seldom anticipates the placement of an item, it frequently uses a fixed base location (for example, zero). Absolute leaps, loads, and stores may need to be re-targeted when machine code is moved. When the executable output from the linker is eventually loaded into memory, it could require another relocation step (just before execution). On hardware that supports virtual memory, this step is typically skipped since each application is put into its own address space, preventing conflicts even if they all load at the same base address. If the executable is a position independent executable, this pass may also be skipped. Some Unix variations, including SINTRAN III, referred to a linker's task of compiling object files into a program as "loading" (as in loading executable code onto a file).  In certain operating systems, the linking and loading of a program are handled by the same application (dynamic linking). Linking dynamically moreover, dynamic linker Dynamic linking is a feature of many operating system environments, delaying the resolution of some undefined symbols until a program is executed. This signifies that there are still undefined symbols in the executable code, along with a list of libraries or objects that will define them. When the program is loaded, these objects and libraries are also loaded, and a final linking is carried out. This strategy has two benefits: In order to conserve limited memory and disk space, frequently used libraries (such the standard system libraries) should be kept in a single place rather than being duplicated in every executable file. All applications that use a library function dynamically will benefit from the fix after being restarted if a problem is fixed by changing the library. It would be necessary to first re-link any statically linked programs that included this function. There are further drawbacks: Incompatible updated libraries, sometimes referred to be "DLL hell" on the Windows platform, will damage executables that relied on the functionality of the prior version of the library if the current version is mistakenly not backward compatible. A program and the libraries it utilizes may be certified as a package (for example, according to correctness, documentation requirements, or performance), but not if individual components may be changed (this also argues against automatic OS updates in critical systems; in both cases, the OS and libraries form part of a qualified environment). A static link The linker copies all library functions used by the application into the executable image, which results in static linking. Although this may need more memory and disk space than dynamic linking, it is more portable since it does not depend on the library being present on the system where it is running. Since each application only includes the precise versions of library functions that it needs, without interfering with other programs, static linking also eliminates "DLL hell." A application does not need to install the full library if it just uses a few procedures from it. Relocation The compiler cannot benefit from shorter or more effective instructions that need the address of another object because it lacks knowledge of the object layout in the final output. For instance, a jump instruction may make reference to either an absolute address or an offset from the present position, with the offset's length dependent on how close the target is. It is feasible to substitute shorter or more effective instructions during the final link by first creating the most cautious instruction (often the biggest relative or absolute variation, depending on platform) and adding relaxation indications. This is sometimes referred to as automated jump-sizing in the context of jump optimizations. [4] Only after all input objects have been read and given temporary addresses can this phase be completed; the linker relaxation pass then reassigns addresses, which may then allow for additional possible relaxations. If relaxations disagree, the linker must consider the benefits of each choice since, in general, the replacement sequences are shorter, allowing this procedure to always converge on the optimum solution given a set order of items. Inner-module relaxation can already happen as part of the optimization process at compile time, whereas instruction relaxation normally happens at link time. In some circumstances, relaxing can also take place at load-time as a step in the relocation process or in conjunction with dynamic dead-code removal methods. hyperlink editor This kind of application is known as a linkage editor in IBM System/360 mainframe environments like OS/360, including z/OS for the z/Architecture mainframes. A linkage editor, as the name suggests, has the added ability to permit the addition, replacement, and/or deletion of certain program parts. Operating systems like OS/360 have a format for executable load-modules that contain additional data about the component sections of a program, allowing for the replacement of a single program section as well as the updating of other program sections to allow for the correction of relocatable addresses and other references by the linkage editor as part of the process. This has the benefit of making it possible to maintain programs without having to store all of the intermediate object files or recompile program segments that haven't changed. Additionally, it enables program changes to be transmitted as compact files (initially card decks) that just include the object module that has to be changed. In these systems, object code takes the shape and format of punched-card images that are 80 bytes in size, allowing for the introduction of updates into the system through that medium. To establish a traceable record of upgrades, load-modules in later OS/360 releases and successor systems carry extra information regarding component module versions. A load module that has previously been connected can also have an overlay structure added, changed, or removed. It should not be assumed that the application functions in a user-interactive mode similar to a text editor because it is called a "linkage editor." The editing commands must be given by the user in sequentially arranged files, such as punched cards, DASD, or magnetic tapes, and tapes were frequently used during the initial installation of the OS. It is designed for batch-mode execution. The act of integrating the individual components into a relocatable binary is referred to as linkage editing (IBM nomenclature), consolidation or collection (ICL nomenclature), but the loading and relocation into an absolute binary at the destination address is typically thought of as a separate operat Regular applications The linker is referred to as "ld" on systems that are similar to Unix. "Ld" stands for "LoaDer" and "Link eDitor," respectively. The procedure of loading external symbols from other programs during the linking process was referred to as "loading" in the terminology. NuGet linker The GNU Project's free software implementation of the Unix command ld is known as the GNU linker (or GNU ld). The linker, which produces executable files (or libraries) from object files produced during the compilation of a software project, is run by GNU ld. To have more control over the linking process, GNU ld may accept a linker script. [6] The GNU Binary Utilities package includes the GNU linker (binutils). The standard GNU ld based on bfd and a "streamlined" ELF-only version known as gold are both offered by binutils. In a large portion of the Unix-like world, GNU ld's command-line and linker script syntaxes are considered the de facto norm. The linker developed by the LLVM project, lld, is directly compatible with the GNU compiler and is intended to be a drop-in replacement. Mold is a different drop-in replacement that is quicker and highly parallelized; it is also supported by GNU tools. 

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