Re: object file formats

Ian Lance Taylor <>
28 Jan 2001 02:12:25 -0500

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object file formats (2001-01-26)
Re: object file formats (Ian Lance Taylor) (2001-01-28)
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From: Ian Lance Taylor <>
Newsgroups: comp.compilers
Date: 28 Jan 2001 02:12:25 -0500
Organization: Compilers Central
References: 01-01-160
Keywords: linker
Posted-Date: 28 Jan 2001 02:12:25 EST writes:

> What is the difference between the following object file formats: COFF,
> thanks,
> mark
> [COFF is AT&T's object format for early System V, ECOFF is Microsoft's
> mutant version for Windows, XCOFF is IBM's mutant version for AIX. -John]

Actually, Microsoft's mutant version is called PE. ECOFF is the
mutant version from MIPS, later adopted by OSF/1 and Digital Unix.

ECOFF adds small data sections and fancy debugging information, and
removes the ability to have an arbitrary number of sections.

XCOFF adds csects, a different approach to small data sections, and
changes relocation and symbol handling. XCOFF amounts to a completely
different object file format layered into COFF.

More specific questions may yield more specific answers.

[Microsoft's really is also called ECOFF, with two variants, the linkable
ECOFF objects and the linked PE. -John]

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