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Preface Arm Compiler Tools Overview armclang Reference armlink Reference armlink Command-line Options --any_contingency --any_placement=algorithm --any_sort_order=order --api, --no_api --autoat, --no_autoat --bare_metal_pie --base_platform --be8 --be32 --bestdebug, --no_bestdebug --blx_arm_thumb, --no_blx_arm_thumb --blx_thumb_arm, --no_blx_thumb_arm --bpabi --branchnop, --no_branchnop --callgraph, --no_callgraph --callgraph_file=filename --callgraph_output=fmt --callgraph_subset=symbol[,symbol,...] --cgfile=type --cgsymbol=type --cgundefined=type --comment_section, --no_comment_section --cppinit, --no_cppinit --cpu=list (armlink) --cpu=name (armlink) --crosser_veneershare, --no_crosser_veneershare --datacompressor=opt --debug, --no_debug --diag_error=tag[,tag,…] (armlink) --diag_remark=tag[,tag,…] (armlink) --diag_style={arm|ide|gnu} (armlink) --diag_suppress=tag[,tag,…] (armlink) --diag_warning=tag[,tag,…] (armlink) --dll --dynamic_linker=name --eager_load_debug, --no_eager_load_debug --eh_frame_hdr --edit=file_list --emit_debug_overlay_relocs --emit_debug_overlay_section --emit_non_debug_relocs --emit_relocs --entry=location --errors=filename --exceptions, --no_exceptions --export_all, --no_export_all --export_dynamic, --no_export_dynamic --filtercomment, --no_filtercomment --fini=symbol --first=section_id --force_explicit_attr --force_so_throw, --no_force_so_throw --fpic --fpu=list (armlink) --fpu=name (armlink) --got=type --gnu_linker_defined_syms --help (armlink) --import_cmse_lib_in=filename --import_cmse_lib_out=filename --import_unresolved, --no_import_unresolved --info=topic[,topic,…] (armlink) --info_lib_prefix=opt --init=symbol --inline, --no_inline --inline_type=type --inlineveneer, --no_inlineveneer input-file-list (armlink) --keep=section_id (armlink) --keep_intermediate --largeregions, --no_largeregions --last=section_id --legacyalign, --no_legacyalign --libpath=pathlist --library=name --library_security=protection --library_type=lib --list=filename --list_mapping_symbols, --no_list_mapping_symbols --load_addr_map_info, --no_load_addr_map_info --locals, --no_locals --lto, --no_lto --lto_keep_all_symbols, --no_lto_keep_all_symbols --lto_intermediate_filename --lto_level --lto_relocation_model --mangled, --unmangled --map, --no_map --max_er_extension=size --max_veneer_passes=value --max_visibility=type --merge, --no_merge --merge_litpools, --no_merge_litpools --muldefweak, --no_muldefweak -o filename, --output=filename (armlink) --output_float_abi=option --overlay_veneers --override_visibility -Omax (armlink) --pad=num --paged --pagesize=pagesize --partial --pie --piveneer, --no_piveneer --pixolib --pltgot=type --pltgot_opts=mode --predefine="string" --preinit, --no_preinit --privacy (armlink) --ref_cpp_init, --no_ref_cpp_init --ref_pre_init, --no_ref_pre_init --reloc --remarks --remove, --no_remove --ro_base=address --ropi --rosplit --rw_base=address --rwpi --scanlib, --no_scanlib --scatter=filename --section_index_display=type --shared --show_cmdline (armlink) --show_full_path --show_parent_lib --show_sec_idx --soname=name --sort=algorithm --split --startup=symbol, --no_startup --stdlib --strict --strict_flags, --no_strict_flags --strict_ph, --no_strict_ph --strict_preserve8_require8 --strict_relocations, --no_strict_relocations --strict_symbols, --no_strict_symbols --strict_visibility, --no_strict_visibility --symbols, --no_symbols --symdefs=filename --symver_script=filename --symver_soname --sysv --tailreorder, --no_tailreorder --tiebreaker=option --unaligned_access, --no_unaligned_access --undefined=symbol --undefined_and_export=symbol --unresolved=symbol --use_definition_visibility --userlibpath=pathlist --veneerinject, --no_veneerinject --veneer_inject_type=type --veneer_pool_size=size --veneershare, --no_veneershare --verbose --version_number (armlink) --via=filename (armlink) --vsn (armlink) --xo_base=address --xref, --no_xref --xrefdbg, --no_xrefdbg --xref{from|to}=object(section) --zi_base=address Linking Models Supported by armlink Overview of linking models Bare-metal linking model overview Partial linking model overview Base Platform Application Binary Interface (BPABI) Base Platform linking model overview SysV linking model overview Concepts common to both BPABI and SysV linking mod Image Structure and Generation The structure of an Arm ELF image Views of the image at each link stage Input sections, output sections, regions, and prog Load view and execution view of an image Methods of specifying an image memory map with the Image entry points Restrictions on image structure Simple images Types of simple image Type 1 image structure, one load region and contig Type 2 image structure, one load region and non-co Type 3 image structure, multiple load regions and Section placement with the linker Default section placement Section placement with the FIRST and LAST attribut Section alignment with the linker Linker support for creating demand-paged files Linker reordering of execution regions containing Linker-generated veneers What is a veneer? Veneer sharing Veneer types Generation of position independent to absolute ven Reuse of veneers when scatter-loading Generation of secure gateway veneers Command-line options used to control the generatio Weak references and definitions How the linker performs library searching, selecti How the linker searches for the Arm standard libra Specifying user libraries when linking How the linker resolves references The strict family of linker options Linker Optimization Features Elimination of common section groups Elimination of unused sections Optimization with RW data compression How the linker chooses a compressor Options available to override the compression algo How compression is applied Considerations when working with RW data compressi Function inlining with the linker Factors that influence function inlining About branches that optimize to a NOP Linker reordering of tail calling sections Restrictions on reordering of tail calling section Linker merging of comment sections Merging identical constants Accessing and Managing Symbols with armlink About mapping symbols Linker-defined symbols Region-related symbols Types of region-related symbols Image$$ execution region symbols Load$$ execution region symbols Load$$LR$$ load region symbols Region name values when not scatter-loading Linker defined symbols and scatter files Methods of importing linker-defined symbols in C a Methods of importing linker-defined symbols in Arm Section-related symbols Types of section-related symbols Image symbols Input section symbols Access symbols in another image Creating a symdefs file Outputting a subset of the global symbols Reading a symdefs file Symdefs file format Edit the symbol tables with a steering file Specifying steering files on the linker command-li Steering file command summary Steering file format Hide and rename global symbols with a steering fil Use of $Super$$ and $Sub$$ to patch symbol definit Scatter-loading Features The scatter-loading mechanism Overview of scatter-loading When to use scatter-loading Linker-defined symbols that are not defined when s Placing the stack and heap with a scatter file Scatter-loading command-line options Scatter-loading images with a simple memory map Scatter-loading images with a complex memory map Root region and the initial entry point Effect of the ABSOLUTE attribute on a root region Effect of the FIXED attribute on a root region Methods of placing functions and data at specific Placing functions and data in a named section Placing __at sections at a specific address Restrictions on placing __at sections Automatically placing __at sections Manually placing __at sections Placing a key in flash memory with an __at section Example of how to explicitly place a named section Placement of unassigned sections Default rules for placing unassigned sections Command-line options for controlling the placement Prioritizing the placement of unassigned sections Specify the maximum region size permitted for plac Examples of using placement algorithms for .ANY se Example of next_fit algorithm showing behavior of Examples of using sorting algorithms for .ANY sect Behavior when .ANY sections overflow because of li Placing veneers with a scatter file Placement of CMSE veneer sections for a Secure ima Reserving an empty block of memory Characteristics of a reserved empty block of memor Example of reserving an empty block of memory Placement of Arm C and C++ library code Placing code in a root region Placing Arm C library code Placing Arm C++ library code Aligning regions to page boundaries Aligning execution regions and input sections Preprocessing a scatter file Default behavior for armclang -E in a scatter file Using other preprocessors in a scatter file Example of using expression evaluation in a scatte Equivalent scatter-loading descriptions for simple Command-line options for creating simple images Type 1 image, one load region and contiguous execu Type 2 image, one load region and non-contiguous e Type 3 image, multiple load regions and non-contig How the linker resolves multiple matches when proc How the linker resolves path names when processing Scatter file to ELF mapping Scatter File Syntax BNF notation used in scatter-loading description s Syntax of a scatter file Load region descriptions Components of a load region description Syntax of a load region description Load region attributes Inheritance rules for load region address attribut Inheritance rules for the RELOC address attribute Considerations when using a relative address +offs Execution region descriptions Components of an execution region description Syntax of an execution region description Execution region attributes Inheritance rules for execution region address att Considerations when using a relative address +offs Input section descriptions Components of an input section description Syntax of an input section description Examples of module and input section specification Expression evaluation in scatter files Expression usage in scatter files Expression rules in scatter files Execution address built-in functions for use in sc ScatterAssert function and load address related fu Symbol related function in a scatter file AlignExpr(expr, align) function GetPageSize() function SizeOfHeaders() function Example of aligning a base address in execution sp Scatter files containing relative base address loa BPABI and SysV Shared Libraries and Executables About the Base Platform Application Binary Interfa Platforms supported by the BPABI Features common to all BPABI models About importing and exporting symbols for BPABI mo Symbol visibility for BPABI models Automatic import and export for BPABI models Manual import and export for BPABI models Symbol versioning for BPABI models RW compression for BPABI models SysV linking model SysV standard memory model Using the C and C++ libraries Using a dynamic Linker Automatic dynamic symbol table rules in the SysV l Symbol definitions defined for SysV compatibility Addressing modes in the SysV linking model Thread local storage in the SysV linking model Linker command-line options for the SysV linking m Bare metal and DLL-like memory models BPABI standard memory model Customization of the BPABI standard memory model Linker command-line options for bare metal and DLL Mandatory symbol versioning in the BPABI DLL-like Automatic dynamic symbol table rules in the BPABI Addressing modes in the BPABI DLL-like model C++ initialization in the BPABI DLL-like model Symbol versioning Overview of symbol versioning Embedded symbols The symbol versioning script file Example of creating versioned symbols Linker options for enabling implicit symbol versio Features of the Base Platform Linking Model Restrictions on the use of scatter files with the Scatter files for the Base Platform linking model Placement of PLT sequences with the Base Platform Linker Steering File Command Reference EXPORT steering file command HIDE steering file command IMPORT steering file command RENAME steering file command REQUIRE steering file command RESOLVE steering file command SHOW steering file command fromelf Reference armar Reference armasm Legacy Assembler Reference Appendixes

Image entry points

C3.1.5 Image entry points

An entry point in an image is the location that is loaded into the PC. It is the location where program execution starts. Although there can be more than one entry point in an image, you can specify only one when linking.

Not every ELF file has to have an entry point. Multiple entry points in a single ELF file are not permitted.

Note:

For embedded programs targeted at a Cortex®‑M-based processor, the program starts at the location that is loaded into the PC from the Reset vector. Typically, the Reset vector points to the CMSIS Reset_Handler function.

Types of entry point

There are two distinct types of entry point:

Initial entry point

The initial entry point for an image is a single value that is stored in the ELF header file. For programs loaded into RAM by an operating system or boot loader, the loader starts the image execution by transferring control to the initial entry point in the image.

An image can have only one initial entry point. The initial entry point can be, but is not required to be, one of the entry points set by the ENTRY directive.

Entry points set by the ENTRY directive

You can select one of many possible entry points for an image. An image can have only one entry point.

You create entry points in objects with the ENTRY directive in an assembler file. In embedded systems, typical use of this directive is to mark code that is entered through the processor exception vectors, such as RESET, IRQ, and FIQ.

The directive marks the output code section with an ENTRY keyword that instructs the linker not to remove the section when it performs unused section elimination.

For C and C++ programs, the __main() function in the C library is also an entry point.

If an embedded image is to be used by a loader, it must have a single initial entry point specified in the header. Use the --entry command-line option to select the entry point.

The initial entry point for an image

There can be only one initial entry point for an image, otherwise linker warning L6305W is output.

The initial entry point must meet the following conditions:

  • The image entry point must always lie within an execution region.

  • The execution region must not overlay another execution region, and must be a root execution region. That is, where the load address is the same as the execution address.

If you do not use the --entry option to specify the initial entry point, then:

  • If the input objects contain only one entry point set by the ENTRY directive, the linker uses that entry point as the initial entry point for the image.

  • The linker generates an image that does not contain an initial entry point when either:

    • More than one entry point is specified using the ENTRY directive.

    • No entry point is specified using the ENTRY directive.

For embedded applications with ROM at address zero use --entry=0x0, or optionally 0xFFFF0000 for processors that are using high vectors.

Note:

High vectors are not supported in AArch64 state.

Note:

Some processors, such as Cortex‑M7, can boot from a different address in some configurations.
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