Which Solaris Files Are Stripped?

Ali Bahrami — Friday February 09, 2007

Surfing with the Linker-Aliens

In my previous blog entry about the new .SUNW_ldynsym sections, I made the following statement:

It used to be common practice for system binaries to be stripped in order to save space. However, observability is a central tenet of the Solaris philosophy. Solaris objects and executables are therefore shipped in unstripped form, and have been for many years, in order to support such symbol lookups.

It turns out that this is is only partially true...

Brian Utterback posted a comment and pointed out that 490 of the 719 ELF binaries in /usr/bin on his Solaris 10 system are stripped. This shows that Solaris binaries have not been unstripped "for many years". I looked at /usr/bin on my desktop system, which is running a fairily recent Nevada build, and found that only 51 of the 815 files there are stripped. It appears that binaries are (mostly) stripped now. What changed between Solaris 10 and today? And, why "mostly"?

As I usually do in such situations, I sent mail to my fellow Linker Alien Rod Evans. I asked him for his recollection of what policies were used for stripping Solaris files in the past. Here is a summary of what he told me:

The new .SUNW_ldynsym sections reduce the need for everything to be unstripped, so we may end up relaxing our ON rule if there is a reason to do so. And if the other consolidations continue to strip their files, .SUNW_ldynsym will provide better observability for them.

Brian is absolutely right — we have not been shipping "Solaris objects and executables" in unstripped form for many years, only sharable libraries! I knew that libraries were unstripped, and that current builds don't strip either binaries, and those two facts misled me.

On the plus side, I have a better understanding of the issue now... :-)

Surfing with the Linker-Aliens

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Surfing with the Linker-Aliens

[5] What Is .SUNW_ldynsym?
Blog Index (ali)
[7] Changing ELF Runpaths