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2.6.1 Section input

When a BFD is opened for reading, the section structures are created and attached to the BFD.

Each section has a name which describes the section in the outside world—for example, a.out would contain at least three sections, called .text, .data and .bss.

Names need not be unique; for example a COFF file may have several sections named .data.

Sometimes a BFD will contain more than the “natural” number of sections. A back end may attach other sections containing constructor data, or an application may add a section (using bfd_make_section) to the sections attached to an already open BFD. For example, the linker creates an extra section COMMON for each input file's BFD to hold information about common storage.

The raw data is not necessarily read in when the section descriptor is created. Some targets may leave the data in place until a bfd_get_section_contents call is made. Other back ends may read in all the data at once. For example, an S-record file has to be read once to determine the size of the data. An IEEE-695 file doesn't contain raw data in sections, but data and relocation expressions intermixed, so the data area has to be parsed to get out the data and relocations.