Linking and Libraries
The compiler produces object files that contain executable code, but in virtually every case the object file produced by the compiler is incomplete and needs to be combined with other object modules to produce an executable program. Even a simple "hello world" program employs a function from another object file to do the actual work of displaying the string of characters.
This chapter discusses linking and the utilities that can be used to examine and manipulate object files. An object file is the .o file produced by the compiler. Many of the utilities described in this chapter can work with more than one object file, whether they are stored in a directory as discrete files, in a static library (also known as an archive), or in a shared library (also known as a dynamic library). Also, some of the utilities operate on fully linked executable files.
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