DLDUMP(3C) Standard C Library Functions DLDUMP(3C)


dldump - create a new file from a dynamic object component of the calling


#include <dlfcn.h>

int dldump(const char *ipath, const char *opath, int flags);


The dldump() function creates a new dynamic object opath from an existing
dynamic object ipath that is bound to the current process. An ipath value
of 0 is interpreted as the dynamic object that started the process. The
new object is constructed from the existing objects' disc file.
Relocations can be applied to the new object to pre-bind it to other
dynamic objects, or fix the object to a specific memory location. In
addition, data elements within the new object can be obtained from the
objects' memory image as this data exists in the calling process.

These techniques allow the new object to be executed with a lower startup
cost. This reduction can be because of less relocations being required
to load the object, or because of a reduction in the data processing
requirements of the object. However, limitations can exist in using these
techniques. The application of relocations to the new dynamic object
opath can restrict its flexibility within a dynamically changing
environment. In addition, limitations in regards to data usage can make
dumping a memory image impractical. See EXAMPLES.

The runtime linker verifies that the dynamic object ipath is mapped as
part of the current process. Thus, the object must either be the dynamic
object that started the process, one of the process's dependencies, or an
object that has been preloaded. See exec(2), and ld.so.1(1).

As part of the runtime processing of a dynamic object, relocation records
within the object are interpreted and applied to offsets within the
object. These offsets are said to be relocated. Relocations can be
categorized into two basic types: non-symbolic and symbolic.

The non-symbolic relocation is a simple relative relocation that requires
the base address at which the object is mapped to perform the relocation.
The symbolic relocation requires the address of an associated symbol, and
results in a binding to the dynamic object that defines this symbol. The
symbol definition can originate from any of the dynamic objects that make
up the process, that is, the object that started the process, one of the
process's dependencies, an object that has been preloaded, or the dynamic
object being relocated.

The flags parameter controls the relocation processing and other
attributes of producing the new dynamic object opath. Without any flags,
the new object is constructed solely from the contents of the ipath disc
file without any relocations applied.

Various relocation flags can be or'ed into the flags parameter to affect
the relocations that are applied to the new object. Non-symbolic
relocations can be applied using the following:

Relocation records from the object ipath, that
define relative relocations, are applied to the
object opath.

A variety of symbolic relocations can be applied using the following
flags (each of these flags also implies RTLD_REL_RELATIVE is in effect):

Symbolic relocations that result in binding ipath to
the dynamic object that started the process, commonly
a dynamic executable, are applied to the object

Symbolic relocations that result in binding ipath to
any of the dynamic dependencies of the process are
applied to the object opath.

Symbolic relocations that result in binding ipath to
any objects preloaded with the process are applied to
the object opath. See LD_PRELOAD in ld.so.1(1).

Symbolic relocations that result in binding ipath to
itself, are applied to the object opath.

Weak relocations that remain unresolved are applied
to the object opath as 0.

All relocation records defined in the object ipath
are applied to the new object opath. This is
basically a concatenation of all the above relocation

Note that for dynamic executables, RTLD_REL_RELATIVE, RTLD_REL_EXEC, and
RTLD_REL_SELF have no effect. See EXAMPLES.

If relocations, knowledgeable of the base address of the mapped object,
are applied to the new object opath, then the new object becomes fixed to
the location that the ipath image is mapped within the current process.

Any relocations applied to the new object opath will have the original
relocation record removed so that the relocation will not be applied more
than once. Otherwise, the new object opath will retain the relocation
records as they exist in the ipath disc file.

The following additional attributes for creating the new dynamic object
opath can be specified using the flags parameter:

The new object opath is constructed from the current
memory contents of the ipath image as it exists in the
calling process. This option allows data modified by the
calling process to be captured in the new object. Note
that not all data modifications may be applicable for
capture; significant restrictions exist in using this
technique. See EXAMPLES. By default, when processing a
dynamic executable, any allocated memory that follows the
end of the data segment is captured in the new object (see
malloc(3C) and brk(2)). This data, which represents the
process heap, is saved as a new .SUNW_heap section in the
object opath. The objects' program headers and symbol
entries, such as _end, are adjusted accordingly. See also
RTLD_NOHEAP. When using this attribute, any relocations
that have been applied to the ipath memory image that do
not fall into one of the requested relocation categories
are undone, that is, the relocated element is returned to
the value as it existed in the ipath disc file.

Only collect allocatable sections within the object opath.
Sections that are not part of the dynamic objects' memory
image are removed. RTLD_STRIP reduces the size of the
opath disc file and is comparable to having run the new
object through strip(1).

Do not save any heap to the new object. This option is
only meaningful when processing a dynamic executable with
the RTLD_MEMORY attribute and allows for reducing the size
of the opath disc file. The executable must confine its
data initialization to data elements within its data
segment, and must not use any allocated data elements that
comprise the heap.

It should be emphasized, that an object created by dldump() is simply an
updated ELF object file. No additional state regarding the process at the
time dldump() is called is maintained in the new object. dldump() does
not provide a panacea for checkpoint and resume. A new dynamic
executable, for example, will not start where the original executable
called dldump(). It will gain control at the executable's normal entry
point. See EXAMPLES.


On successful creation of the new object, dldump() returns 0. Otherwise,
a non-zero value is returned and more detailed diagnostic information is
available through dlerror().


Example 1: Sample code using dldump().

The following code fragment, which can be part of a dynamic executable
a.out, can be used to create a new shared object from one of the dynamic
executables' dependencies libfoo.so.1:

const char * ipath = "libfoo.so.1";
const char * opath = "./tmp/libfoo.so.1";
if (dldump(ipath, opath, RTLD_REL_RELATIVE) != 0)
(void) printf("dldump failed: %s\n", dlerror());

The new shared object opath is fixed to the address of the mapped ipath
bound to the dynamic executable a.out. All relative relocations are
applied to this new shared object, which will reduce its relocation
overhead when it is used as part of another process.

By performing only relative relocations, any symbolic relocation records
remain defined within the new object, and thus the dynamic binding to
external symbols will be preserved when the new object is used.

Use of the other relocation flags can fix specific relocations in the new
object and thus can reduce even more the runtime relocation startup cost
of the new object. However, this will also restrict the flexibility of
using the new object within a dynamically changing environment, as it
will bind the new object to some or all of the dynamic objects presently
mapped as part of the process.

For example, the use of RTLD_REL_SELF will cause any references to
symbols from ipath to be bound to definitions within itself if no other
preceding object defined the same symbol. In other words, a call to foo()
within ipath will bind to the definition foo within the same object.
Therefore, opath will have one less binding that must be computed at
runtime. This reduces the startup cost of using opath by other
applications; however, interposition of the symbol foo will no longer be

Using a dumped shared object with applied relocations as an applications
dependency normally requires that the application have the same
dependencies as the application that produced the dumped image. Dumping
shared objects, and the various flags associated with relocation
processing, have some specialized uses. However, the technique is
intended as a building block for future technology.

The following code fragment, which is part of the dynamic executable
a.out, can be used to create a new version of the dynamic executable:

static char * dumped = 0;
const char * opath = "./a.out.new";
if (dumped == 0) {
char buffer[100];
int size;
time_t seconds;
/* Perform data initialization */
seconds = time((time_t *)0);
size = cftime(buffer, (char *)0, &seconds);
if ((dumped = (char *)malloc(size + 1)) == 0) {
(void) printf("malloc failed: %s\n", strerror(errno));
return (1);
(void) strcpy(dumped, buffer);
* Tear down any undesirable data initializations and
* dump the dynamic executables memory image.
_exit(dldump(0, opath, RTLD_MEMORY));
(void) printf("Dumped: %s\n", dumped);

Any modifications made to the dynamic executable, up to the point the
dldump() call is made, are saved in the new object a.out.new. This
mechanism allows the executable to update parts of its data segment and
heap prior to creating the new object. In this case, the date the
executable is dumped is saved in the new object. The new object can then
be executed without having to carry out the same (presumably expensive)

For greatest flexibility, this example does not save any relocated
information. The elements of the dynamic executable ipath that have been
modified by relocations at process startup, that is, references to
external functions, are returned to the values of these elements as they
existed in the ipath disc file. This preservation of relocation records
allows the new dynamic executable to be flexible, and correctly bind and
initialize to its dependencies when executed on the same or newer
upgrades of the OS.

Fixing relocations by applying some of the relocation flags would bind
the new object to the dependencies presently mapped as part of the
process calling dldump(). It may also remove necessary copy relocation
processing required for the correct initialization of its shared object
dependencies. Therefore, if the new dynamic executables' dependencies
have no specialized initialization requirements, the executable may still
only interact correctly with the dependencies to which it binds if they
were mapped to the same locations as they were when dldump() was called.

Note that for dynamic executables, RTLD_REL_RELATIVE, RTLD_REL_EXEC, and
RTLD_REL_SELF have no effect, as relocations within the dynamic
executable will have been fixed when it was created by ld(1).

When RTLD_MEMORY is used, care should be taken to insure that dumped data
sections that reference external objects are not reused without
appropriate re-initialization. For example, if a data item contains a
file descriptor, a variable returned from a shared object, or some other
external data, and this data item has been initialized prior to the
dldump() call, its value will have no meaning in the new dumped image.

When RTLD_MEMORY is used, any modification to a data item that is
initialized via a relocation whose relocation record will be retained in
the new image will effectively be lost or invalidated within the new
image. For example, if a pointer to an external object is incremented
prior to the dldump() call, this data item will be reset to its disc file
contents so that it can be relocated when the new image is used; hence,
the previous increment is lost.

Non-idempotent data initializations may prevent the use of RTLD_MEMORY.
For example, the addition of elements to a linked-list via init sections
can result in the linked-list data being captured in the new image.
Running this new image may result in init sections continuing to add new
elements to the list without the prerequisite initialization of the list
head. It is recommended that _exithandle(3C) be called before dldump() to
tear down any data initializations established via initialization code.
Note that this may invalidate the calling image; thus, following the call
to dldump(), only a call to _Exit(2) should be made.


The dldump() function is one of a family of functions that give the user
direct access to the dynamic linking facilities. These facilities are
available to dynamically-linked processes only. See Linker and Libraries


See attributes(7) for descriptions of the following attributes:

|MT-Level | MT-Safe |


ld(1), ld.so.1(1), strip(1), _Exit(2), brk(2), exec(2), _exithandle(3C),
dladdr(3C), dlclose(3C), dlerror(3C), dlopen(3C), dlsym(3C), end(3C),
malloc(3C), attributes(7)

Linker and Libraries Guide


These functions are available to dynamically-linked processes only.

Any NOBITS sections within the ipath are expanded to PROGBITS sections
within the opath. NOBITS sections occupy no space within an ELF file
image. NOBITS sections declare memory that must be created and zero-
filled when the object is mapped into the runtime environment. .bss is a
typical example of this section type. PROGBITS sections, on the other
hand, hold information defined by the object within the ELF file image.
This section conversion reduces the runtime initialization cost of the
new dumped object but increases the objects' disc space requirement.

When a shared object is dumped, and relocations are applied which are
knowledgeable of the base address of the mapped object, the new object is
fixed to this new base address. The dumped object has its ELF type
reclassified to be a dynamic executable. The dumped object can be
processed by the runtime linker, but is not valid as input to the link-

If relocations are applied to the new object, any remaining relocation
records are reorganized for better locality of reference. The relocation
sections are renamed to .SUNW_reloc and the association with the section
to relocate, is lost. Only the offset of the relocation record is
meaningful. .SUNW_reloc relocations do not make the new object invalid
to either the runtime linker or link-editor, but can reduce the objects
analysis with some ELF readers.

September 7, 2015 DLDUMP(3C)