Difference between Linker and Loader
Utility programs play a critical role in the execution of any program. There are two sorts of utility programs known as linker and loader. The difference between linker and loader is that the linker takes the object codes generated by the assembler and combines them to create the executable module. The loader, on the other hand, is responsible for loading the executable module into the main memory for execution. It is an important topic in the GATE CSE syllabus. Let us check the difference between linker and loader given in the table below.
Key Difference Between Linker and Loader
A linker is a useful utility tool that combines object files and other code created by the assembler and compiler into a single executable file.
|A loader is an operating system component that is responsible for loading applications and libraries.|
|The primary role of a linker is to create executable files.||The primary goal of a loader is to load executable files into the main memory.|
|Linking is the process of putting together multiple parts of code and source code to create executable code.||The process of loading executable programs into the main memory for subsequent execution is known as loading.|
|The linker can also be used to assemble all object modules.||It aids in the assignment of addresses to executable programs and files.|
|It takes the object code created by an assembler as input.||It accepts linker-generated executable modules.|
It's in charge of keeping track of what's in the program's space.
|It is in charge of establishing references for use in the program.|
What is Linker?
After discussing the difference between linker and loader, let us discuss linker in detail. A linker is a program that joins object files created by a compiler/assembler with other bits of code to create an executable file with the .exe extension. The linker seeks and appends any libraries required for the file's execution in the object file. It controls the amount of memory allocated to each module's code. It also combines two or more different object programs into one and creates a link between them. There are two sorts of linkers in general:
- Linkage Editor
- Dynamic Linker
What is Loader?
The loader is a special program that receives executable files from the linker, loads them into the main memory and prepares them for computer execution. The loader allows RAM to the software. It also establishes a symbolic link between items. Its job is to load applications and libraries into the operating system. Loaders are not available in embedded computer systems. Code is performed by ROM in them. Various loading methods are as follows:
- Absolute Loaders
- Relocating Loaders
- Direct Linking Loaders
- Bootstrap Loaders
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