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 Post subject: C compiler "junk" in binary executable?
PostPosted: Thu Dec 22, 2016 10:42 am 
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I've been messing around with C programs for my OS and noticed that the compiled binary size is much larger than I had figured it would be. Mainly there is unknown data between the code and data of the binary.

Compile:
Code:
gcc -c -m64 -nostdlib -nostartfiles -nodefaultlibs -fomit-frame-pointer -mno-red-zone -o helloc.o helloc.c
ld -T app.ld -o helloc.app helloc.o


hello.c:
Code:
void b_output(const char *str);

int main(void)
{
   b_output("Hello world, from C!\n");
   return 0;
}

void b_output(const char *str)
{
   asm volatile ("call *0x00100010" : : "S"(str)); // Make sure source register (RSI) has the string address (str)
}


app.ld:
Code:
OUTPUT_FORMAT("binary")
OUTPUT_ARCH("i386:x86-64")
ENTRY(main)
SECTIONS
{
   . = 0x0000000000200000;
   .text : {
      *(.text)
      . = ALIGN(16);
   }
   .data : {
      *(.data)
      *(.rodata)
      . = ALIGN(16);
   }
   __bss_start = .;
   .bss : {
      bss = .; _bss = .; __bss = .;
      *(.bss);
   }
   end = .; _end = .; __end = .;
}


ndsiasm:
Code:
00000000  4883EC08          sub rsp,byte +0x8
00000004  BF88002000        mov edi,0x200088
00000009  E80A000000        call qword 0x18
0000000E  B800000000        mov eax,0x0
00000013  4883C408          add rsp,byte +0x8
00000017  C3                ret
00000018  4883EC08          sub rsp,byte +0x8
0000001C  48893C24          mov [rsp],rdi
00000020  488B0424          mov rax,[rsp]
00000024  4889C6            mov rsi,rax
00000027  FF142510001000    call qword [0x100010]
0000002E  90                nop
0000002F  4883C408          add rsp,byte +0x8
00000033  C3                ret
00000034  662E0F1F84000000  nop word [cs:rax+rax+0x0]
         -0000
0000003E  6690              xchg ax,ax
00000040  1400              adc al,0x0
00000042  0000              add [rax],al
00000044  0000              add [rax],al
00000046  0000              add [rax],al
00000048  017A52            add [rdx+0x52],edi
0000004B  0001              add [rcx],al
0000004D  7810              js 0x5f
0000004F  011B              add [rbx],ebx
00000051  0C07              or al,0x7
00000053  089001000014      or [rax+0x14000001],dl
00000059  0000              add [rax],al
0000005B  001C00            add [rax+rax],bl
0000005E  0000              add [rax],al
00000060  A0FFFFFF18000000  mov al,[qword 0x18ffffff]
         -00
00000069  44                rex.r
0000006A  0E                db 0x0e
0000006B  10530E            adc [rbx+0xe],dl
0000006E  0800              or [rax],al
00000070  1400              adc al,0x0
00000072  0000              add [rax],al
00000074  3400              xor al,0x0
00000076  0000              add [rax],al
00000078  A0FFFFFF1C000000  mov al,[qword 0x1cffffff]
         -00
00000081  44                rex.r
00000082  0E                db 0x0e
00000083  10570E            adc [rdi+0xe],dl
00000086  0800              or [rax],al
00000088  48                rex.w
00000089  656C              gs insb
0000008B  6C                insb
0000008C  6F                outsd
0000008D  20776F            and [rdi+0x6f],dh
00000090  726C              jc 0xfe
00000092  642C20            fs sub al,0x20
00000095  66726F            o16 jc 0x107
00000098  6D                insd
00000099  204321            and [rbx+0x21],al
0000009C  0A00              or al,[rax]
0000009E  0000              add [rax],al


Hex output:
Code:
00000000   48 83 EC 08  BF 88 00 20  00 E8 0A 00  00 00 B8 00  H...... ........
00000010   00 00 00 48  83 C4 08 C3  48 83 EC 08  48 89 3C 24  ...H....H...H.<$
00000020   48 8B 04 24  48 89 C6 FF  14 25 10 00  10 00 90 48  H..$H....%.....H
00000030   83 C4 08 C3  66 2E 0F 1F  84 00 00 00  00 00 66 90  ....f.........f.
00000040   14 00 00 00  00 00 00 00  01 7A 52 00  01 78 10 01  .........zR..x..
00000050   1B 0C 07 08  90 01 00 00  14 00 00 00  1C 00 00 00  ................
00000060   A0 FF FF FF  18 00 00 00  00 44 0E 10  53 0E 08 00  .........D..S...
00000070   14 00 00 00  34 00 00 00  A0 FF FF FF  1C 00 00 00  ....4...........
00000080   00 44 0E 10  57 0E 08 00  48 65 6C 6C  6F 20 77 6F  .D..W...Hello wo
00000090   72 6C 64 2C  20 66 72 6F  6D 20 43 21  0A 00 00 00  rld, from C!....


The actual program code is 0x0 - 0x33 and the string is 0x88 - 0x9D

What is the "junk" in 0x34 - 0x87? Is there a problem with my linker script?

Thanks,
Ian

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Mono-tasking 64-bit OS for x86-64 based computers, written entirely in Assembly


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 Post subject: Re: C compiler "junk" in binary executable?
PostPosted: Thu Dec 22, 2016 10:46 am 
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Joined: Sat Nov 21, 2009 5:11 pm
Posts: 645
I think it would be easier to answer that question if you disassembled the object file, rather than the end result.


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 Post subject: Re: C compiler "junk" in binary executable?
PostPosted: Thu Dec 22, 2016 11:33 am 
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Joined: Mon Jul 28, 2008 9:46 am
Posts: 308
Location: Ontario, Canada
Good idea!

objdump -D helloc.o:
Code:
helloc.o:     file format elf64-x86-64


Disassembly of section .text:

0000000000000000 <main>:
   0:   48 83 ec 08             sub    $0x8,%rsp
   4:   bf 00 00 00 00          mov    $0x0,%edi
   9:   e8 00 00 00 00          callq  e <main+0xe>
   e:   b8 00 00 00 00          mov    $0x0,%eax
  13:   48 83 c4 08             add    $0x8,%rsp
  17:   c3                      retq   

0000000000000018 <b_output>:
  18:   48 83 ec 08             sub    $0x8,%rsp
  1c:   48 89 3c 24             mov    %rdi,(%rsp)
  20:   48 8b 04 24             mov    (%rsp),%rax
  24:   48 89 c6                mov    %rax,%rsi
  27:   ff 14 25 10 00 10 00    callq  *0x100010
  2e:   90                      nop
  2f:   48 83 c4 08             add    $0x8,%rsp
  33:   c3                      retq   

Disassembly of section .rodata:

0000000000000000 <.rodata>:
   0:   48                      rex.W
   1:   65 6c                   gs insb (%dx),%es:(%rdi)
   3:   6c                      insb   (%dx),%es:(%rdi)
   4:   6f                      outsl  %ds:(%rsi),(%dx)
   5:   20 77 6f                and    %dh,0x6f(%rdi)
   8:   72 6c                   jb     76 <b_output+0x5e>
   a:   64 2c 20                fs sub $0x20,%al
   d:   66 72 6f                data16 jb 7f <b_output+0x67>
  10:   6d                      insl   (%dx),%es:(%rdi)
  11:   20 43 21                and    %al,0x21(%rbx)
  14:   0a 00                   or     (%rax),%al

Disassembly of section .comment:

0000000000000000 <.comment>:
   0:   00 47 43                add    %al,0x43(%rdi)
   3:   43 3a 20                rex.XB cmp (%r8),%spl
   6:   28 55 62                sub    %dl,0x62(%rbp)
   9:   75 6e                   jne    79 <b_output+0x61>
   b:   74 75                   je     82 <b_output+0x6a>
   d:   20 35 2e 34 2e 30       and    %dh,0x302e342e(%rip)        # 302e3441 <b_output+0x302e3429>
  13:   2d 36 75 62 75          sub    $0x75627536,%eax
  18:   6e                      outsb  %ds:(%rsi),(%dx)
  19:   74 75                   je     90 <b_output+0x78>
  1b:   31 7e 31                xor    %edi,0x31(%rsi)
  1e:   36 2e 30 34 2e          ss xor %dh,%cs:(%rsi,%rbp,1)
  23:   34 29                   xor    $0x29,%al
  25:   20 35 2e 34 2e 30       and    %dh,0x302e342e(%rip)        # 302e3459 <b_output+0x302e3441>
  2b:   20 32                   and    %dh,(%rdx)
  2d:   30 31                   xor    %dh,(%rcx)
  2f:   36 30 36                xor    %dh,%ss:(%rsi)
  32:   30 39                   xor    %bh,(%rcx)
   ...

Disassembly of section .eh_frame:

0000000000000000 <.eh_frame>:
   0:   14 00                   adc    $0x0,%al
   2:   00 00                   add    %al,(%rax)
   4:   00 00                   add    %al,(%rax)
   6:   00 00                   add    %al,(%rax)
   8:   01 7a 52                add    %edi,0x52(%rdx)
   b:   00 01                   add    %al,(%rcx)
   d:   78 10                   js     1f <.eh_frame+0x1f>
   f:   01 1b                   add    %ebx,(%rbx)
  11:   0c 07                   or     $0x7,%al
  13:   08 90 01 00 00 14       or     %dl,0x14000001(%rax)
  19:   00 00                   add    %al,(%rax)
  1b:   00 1c 00                add    %bl,(%rax,%rax,1)
  1e:   00 00                   add    %al,(%rax)
  20:   00 00                   add    %al,(%rax)
  22:   00 00                   add    %al,(%rax)
  24:   18 00                   sbb    %al,(%rax)
  26:   00 00                   add    %al,(%rax)
  28:   00 44 0e 10             add    %al,0x10(%rsi,%rcx,1)
  2c:   53                      push   %rbx
  2d:   0e                      (bad) 
  2e:   08 00                   or     %al,(%rax)
  30:   14 00                   adc    $0x0,%al
  32:   00 00                   add    %al,(%rax)
  34:   34 00                   xor    $0x0,%al
  36:   00 00                   add    %al,(%rax)
  38:   00 00                   add    %al,(%rax)
  3a:   00 00                   add    %al,(%rax)
  3c:   1c 00                   sbb    $0x0,%al
  3e:   00 00                   add    %al,(%rax)
  40:   00 44 0e 10             add    %al,0x10(%rsi,%rcx,1)
  44:   57                      push   %rdi
  45:   0e                      (bad) 
  46:   08 00                   or     %al,(%rax)


I'll look into what .comment and .eh_frame are for.

Thanks,
Ian

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Mono-tasking 64-bit OS for x86-64 based computers, written entirely in Assembly


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 Post subject: Re: C compiler "junk" in binary executable?
PostPosted: Thu Dec 22, 2016 12:35 pm 
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They are non-code sections used for various housekeeping details by the ELF specification (though .eh_frame is mainly for DWARF, the debugging format meant to work in conjunction with ELF). Both can be stripped out, if you are certain you won't need them, but the linker won't do so automatically just because the filed is linked into a binary image rather than an ELF file.

ELF64 Specification:
ELF64 spec wrote:
The comment section is reserved for revision control information. [...] The contents of a .comment section will be a sequence of NULL-terminated strings with the format of each string being:
Code:
toolname:vendor:revision:object



StackOverflow: Why GCC compiled C program needs .eh_frame section?
Quote:
First of all, the original reason for this was largely political - the people who added DWARF-based unwinding (.eh_frame) wanted it to be a feature that's always there so it could be used for implementing all kinds of stuff other than just C++ exceptions, including:

  • backtrace()
  • __attribute__((__cleanup__(f)))
  • __builtin_return_address(n), for n>0
  • pthread_cleanup_push, implemented in terms of __attribute__((__cleanup__(f)))
  • ...
However if you don't need any of these things, .eh_frame is something like a 15-30% increase to .text size with no benefit. You can disable generation of .eh_frame with -fno-asynchronous-unwind-tables for individual translation units, and this mostly eliminates the size cost, although you still have a few left over coming from crtbegin.o, etc. You cannot strip them with the strip command later; since .eh_frame is a section that lives in the loaded part of the program (this is the whole point), stripping it modifies the binary in ways that break it at runtime. See https://sourceware.org/bugzilla/show_bug.cgi?id=14037 for an example of how things can break.

Note that DWARF tables are also used for debugging, but for this purpose they do not need to be in the loadable part of the program. Using -fno-asynchronous-unwind-tables will not break debugging, because as long as -g is also passed to the compiler, the tables still get generated; they just get stored in a separate, non-loadable, strippable section of the binary, .debug_frame.


Removing Unused Functions/Dead Codes with GCC/GNU-ld

WxWidgets Wiki: Reducing Executable Size:
GCC documentation page for optimization options: http://gcc.gnu.org/onlinedocs/gcc/Optimize-Options.html

  • Strip your binary
    • Pass the -s flag to gcc while building your executable
    • Or use strip --strip-all SOMEBINARY[.exe] on the executable if using GCC (any platform; on OS X, omit the --strip-all flag) - this might work better than -s in case of static libraries since it will also remove symbols linked in.
    • (Linux only?) Passing --remove-section=.comment and --remove-section=.note to strip saved me 0.31% by removing many copies of "GCC: (GNU) 4.0.1 20050727 (Red Hat 4.0.1-5)"
  • Pass -ffunction-sections -fdata-sections to the compiler while building and -Wl,--gc-sections to the linker (see http://utilitybase.com/article/show/2007/04/09/225/Size+does+matter:+Optimizing+with+size+in+mind+with+GCC)

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