Difference Between Linker and Loader

By Aina Parasher|Updated : April 18th, 2022

Difference Between Linker and Loader: The utility programs linker and loader play an important part in the execution of a program. Before being executed, a program's source code travels via the compiler, assembler, linker, and loader in that sequence. On the one hand, the linker takes the assembler's object codes and combines them to create the executable module. The main goal of a linker is to create executable files, whereas the main goal of a loader is to load executable files into memory.

Let's look at the distinctions between a linker and a loader in greater detail. The loader, on the other hand, places this executable module in the main memory for execution. With the assistance of a comparison graphic, let us analyze the differences between linker and loader.

Table of Content

What is Linker?

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:

  1. Linkage Editor
  2. Dynamic Linker

What is Loader?

The loader is a special program that receives executable files from the linker, loads them into 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:

  1. Absolute Loaders
  2. Relocating Loaders
  3. Direct Linking Loaders
  4. Bootstrap Loaders

Difference between Linker and Loader

There are two sorts of utility programs: linker and loader. Utility programs play a critical role in the execution of any program. The linker and loader are very different such 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. The major differences are listed in the table below.

LinkerLoader

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 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.

Comments

write a comment

FAQs

  • The major difference between linker and loader is as follows. A linker is in charge of keeping track of what's in the program's space while a loader is in charge of establishing references for use in the program.

  • 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. Dynamic and linkage linkers are the two types of linkers.

  • A loader is a critical component of an operating system that is responsible for loading applications and libraries, according to computer science. Loaders might be Absolute, Direct Linking, Bootstrap, or Relocating.

  • The input difference between the linker and loader is provided below.

    • A linker takes the object code created by an assembler as input.
    • A loader accepts linker-generated executable modules.
  • The different types linkers are linkage editor and dynamic editor whereas the different types of loader are absolute loader, dynamic run time loader, and relocating loader.


  • The functional difference between linker and loader is provided below.

    • A linker creates an executable module by combining all of the object modules in a source code.
    • A loader allocates the addresses to a main memory executable module for execution.

Follow us for latest updates