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Search in Book Reviews

The ACCU passes on review copies of computer books to its members for them to review. The result is a large, high quality collection of book reviews by programmers, for programmers. Currently there are 1918 reviews in the database and more every month.
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Title:
Linkers&Loaders
Author:
John Levine
ISBN:
1 55860 496 0
Publisher:
Morgan Kaufmann
Pages:
256pp
Price:
£27-95
Reviewer:
Francis Glassborow
Subject:
compilers
Appeared in:
12-5
The author has a long record of accomplishment in areas relevant to the material covered in this book. He has an extensive knowledge of compilers and compilation techniques. He has developed a commercial Fortran 77 compiler (quite a daunting task) as well as being the editor of 'The Journal of C Language Translation' over the years that that periodical existed. I mention these things because they attest to the accuracy of the technical content. This is one case where this reviewer feels happy to trust the author's technical expertise and confine the rest of the review to other aspects of the book.

The author writes good, clear English and avoids the academic habit of obscuring technical detail behind a fog of syntactically convoluted English.

If you are one of those people who are curious as to how your executable gets put together from object files, and what happens at the time that it is loaded for execution then this book is one of the clearest and best informed sources of information that I have come across.

Some people responsible for issues of language design actually need to have some understanding of linkage and loading. Some of the more obscure requirements in standardised languages such as C and C++ are there because of the need to cater for some of the more eccentric architectures that exist.

I do not normally provide lists of chapter titles but I will make an exception in this case because I think it is probably the quickest way to tell you what this book covers. The chapters are: 'Linking&Loading', 'Architectural Issues', 'Object Files', 'Storage Allocation', 'Symbol Management', 'Libraries', 'Relocation', 'Loading and Overlays', 'Shared Libraries', 'Dynamic Linking and Loading' and 'Advanced Techniques'. That final chapter finishes with a quick look at the Java Linking Model.

Very few people will actually need an understanding of much of the contents of this book, but quite a few with more enquiring minds and a well developed sense of curiosity will find this book a comfortable way to satisfaction. Highly recommended reading if the subject interests you.