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Introduction to the ELF Format : The ELF Header (Part I)

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ELF Files are charged with using their magic to perform two holy tasks in the linux universe. The first being to tell the kernel where to place stuff in memory from the ELF file on disk as well as providing ways to invoke the dynamic loaders functions and maybe even help out with some debugging information. Essentially speaking its telling the kernel where to put it in memory and also the plethora of tools that interpret the file where all the data structures are that hold useful information for making sense of the file. Anyway that's as far as I've figured it out - the actual break down is a little less simple.


I'll demonstrate why this is so here and over the next series of posts in the classic "Learn things by breaking them" style.
ELF Header and Identification fields The first thing that appears in an ELF file is of course the header, which is like most things in file formats just a list of offsets in the file. Its purpose is to indicate essentially what kin…