Solaris 11

Oracle has a strict policy about not discussing product features until they appear in shipping product. Now that Solaris 11 is publically available, it is time to catch up. I will be shortly posting articles on a variety of new developments in the Solaris linkers and related bits:
64-bit Archives
After 40+ years of Unix, the archive file format has run out of room. The ar and link-editor (ld) commands have been enhanced to allow archives to grow past their previous 32-bit limits.
Guidance
The link-editor is now willing and able to tell you how to alter your link lines in order to build better objects.
Stub Objects
This is one of the bigger projects I've undertaken since joining the Solaris group. Stub objects are shared objects, built entirely from mapfiles, that supply the same linking interface as the real object, while containing no code or data. You can link to them, but cannot use them at runtime. It was pretty simple to add this ability to the link-editor, but the changes to the OSnet in order to apply them to building Solaris were massive. I discuss how we came to invent stub objects, how we apply them to build the OSnet in a more parallel and scalable manner, and about the follow on opportunities that have emerged from the new stub proto area we created to hold them.
The elffile Utility
A new standard Solaris utility, elffile is a variant of the file utility, focused exclusively on linker related files. elffile is of particular value for examining archives, as it allows you to find out what is inside them without having to first extract the archive members into temporary files.
This release has been a long time coming. I joined the Solaris group in late 2005, and this will be my first FCS. From a user perspective, Solaris 11 is probably the biggest change to Solaris since Solaris 2.0. Solaris 11 polishes the ground breaking features from Solaris 10 (DTrace, FMA, ZFS, Zones), and uses them to add a powerful new packaging system, numerous other enhacements and features, along with a huge modernization effort. I'm excited to see it go out into the world. I hope you enjoy using it as much as we did creating it.

Software is never done. On to the next one...

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I work in the core Solaris OS group on the Solaris linkers. These blogs discuss various aspects of linking and the ELF object file format.

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