Re: COFF and ELF information
18 Dec 1996 00:09:44 -0500

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Related articles
COFF and ELF information (Don Abel) (1996-12-15)
Re: COFF and ELF information (Alexander Krotoff) (1996-12-18)
Re: COFF and ELF information (Sam Kendall) (1996-12-18)
Re: COFF and ELF information (1996-12-18)
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Newsgroups: comp.compilers
Date: 18 Dec 1996 00:09:44 -0500
Organization: na
References: 96-12-121
Keywords: linker

Don Abel <> writes:
>I was wondering if someone could tell me where to find detailed
>information on the COFF and ELF file formats.

The best book I have seen on ELF is the UNIX SYSTEM V, RELEASE 4
Programmer's Guide: ANSI C and Programming Support Tools ISBN:
0-13-933706-7 (There is probably a newer version by now) The AT&T
ordering info says call (201) 767-5937 Chapter 13 (lucky number) has
the pertinent info.

Another good reference is INTEL's Tools Interface Standards (TIS)
Portable Formats Specification. This covers DWARF, ELF and various
other related interesting topics. However, there is a 'Formats
Specification for Windows' from TIS as well that documents the
MicroSoft 32-bit format, now known as PE/COFF, which is probably NOT
what you want. Call INTEL toll free (! Why didn't AT&T think of
that...) 1-800-5484725 and I THINK the order number is #241597-002 (I
have rough drafts, as I was on the committee for a while). Try the
URL: there should be some
good online info... remember INTEL calls ELF/COFF and such an
'Application Binary Interface'.

The TIS working papers even had a technical description of the XCOFF
format used by IBM's AIX version. There is real spec available from
IBM in Austin Texas, but I don't know off-hand how to get it. Try
calling IBM at 1-800-551-2832... The doc exists, somewhere...

I'm actually doing some research on executable file formats in my
spare time. There is a paper or two in this somewhere. The problem
with researching this gray area of CompSci is that most information is
in book chapters under other topics or in appendices. Hard to chase
those down. I even did a check at the Library of Congress and came up

So if someone else has references PLEASE POST and send me an e-mail!

-Edd Doutre -

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