Tag Archives: elf

.PLT and .GOT – the key to code sharing and dynamic libraries

This text was found here: http://www.technovelty.org/linux/pltgot.html

The shared library is an integral part of a modern system, but often the mechanisms behind the implementation are less well understood. There are, of course, many guides to this sort of thing. Hopefully this adds another perspective that resonates with someone.

Let’s start at the beginning — – relocations are entries in binaries that are left to be filled in later — at link time by the toolchain linker or at runtime by the dynamic linker. A relocation in a binary is a descriptor which essentially says “determine the value of X, and put that value into the binary at offset Y” — each relocation has a specific type, defined in the ABI documentation, which describes exactly how “determine the value of” is actually determined.

Here’s the simplest example:

$ cat a.c
extern int foo;

int function(void) {
    return foo;

$ gcc -c a.c 
$ readelf --relocs ./a.o  

Relocation section '.rel.text' at offset 0x2dc contains 1 entries:
 Offset     Info    Type            Sym.Value  Sym. Name
00000004  00000801 R_386_32          00000000   foo

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Understanding Linux ELF RTLD internals

This text was found here: http://s.eresi-project.org/inc/articles/elf-rtld.txt

Last update Sun Dec 22 06:55:39 2002 mayhem

- Version 0.1 May 2001
- Version 0.2 .::. 2002 (WIP) : 
  - Added stuff about rtld relocation .
  - Added stuff about rtld symbol resolution .
  - Various fixes and some links added .

This draft remained unreleased for one year, most of it is based on the 
glibc-2.2.3 implementation, information about the subject has been
disclosed on bugtraq and phrack in beg 2002 :


However, it still contains some kewl info, I'll try to keep it updated, 
hope this will help . I am also adding/clearing/correcting stuffs (and
giving credits) on demand, so dont hesitate to send comments, etc .
/mM [mayhem at devhell dot org]

		Understanding Linux ELF RTLD internals

Most of the paper has been developed in a security perspective, your
comments are always welcomed .

Actually there's many ELF documentation at this time, most of them
are virii coding or backdooring related . To be honest, I never found
any documentation on the dynamic linking sources, and thats why I wrote
this one . Sometimes it looks more like an internal ld.so reference or
a comments review on the ELF dynamic linking implementation in ld-linux.so .

It's not that unuseful since the dynamic linking is one of the worse
documented part of the Linux operating system . I also decided to write
a (tiny) chapter on ELF kernel handling code, because it is
really necessary to know some kernel level stuffs (like the stack 
initialisation) to understand the whole interpreting . 

You can find the last glibc sources on the GNU's FTP server :


If you dont know anything in ELF, you should read the reference before :


Want to know more ? Go on !

     O] Prologue
		    A) Kernel handling code 
		    B) Introducting glibc macros 
     1] Dynamic linker implementation
		    A) Sources graphics
		    B) The link_map structure explained
		    C) Relocating the interpretor
		    D) Runtime GOT relocation
		    E) Symbol resolution
     2] FAQ, thanks and references

		    X) Stack information gathering 
		    X) SHT_DYNAMIC information gathering
		    X) PHT interpreting 
		    X) Loading shared libraries 
		    X) Shared libraries relocation 

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Linkers and Loaders

This is an excelent (!!!) article describing in general terms how the process of linking (static and dynamic) and loading elf programs on linux works. This is a very valuable article.

The original is found here: http://www.linuxjournal.com/article/6463?page=0,0

Discussing how compilers, links and loaders work and the benefits of shared libraries.
Linking is the process of combining various pieces of code and data together to form a single executable that can be loaded in memory. Linking can be done at compile time, at load time (by loaders) and also at run time (by application programs). The process of linking dates back to late 1940s, when it was done manually. Now, we have linkers that support complex features, such as dynamically linked shared libraries. This article is a succinct discussion of all aspects of linking, ranging from relocation and symbol resolution to supporting position-independent shared libraries. To keep things simple and understandable, I target all my discussions to ELF (executable and linking format) executables on the x86 architecture (Linux) and use the GNU compiler (GCC) and linker (ld). However, the basic concepts of linking remain the same, regardless of the operating system, processor architecture or object file format being used.