ar.h(3HEAD) Headers ar.h(3HEAD)
ar.h, ar - archive file format
The archive command ar is used to combine several files into one. Archives are used mainly
as libraries to be searched by the link editor ld.
Each archive begins with the archive magic string.
#define ARMAG "!<arch>\n" /* magic string */
#define SARMAG 8 /* length of magic string */
Following the archive magic string are the archive file members. Each file member is pre-
ceded by a file member header which is of the following format:
#define ARFMAG "`\n" /* header trailer string */
struct ar_hdr /* file member header */
char ar_name; /* '/' terminated file member name */
char ar_date; /* file member date */
char ar_uid /* file member user identification */
char ar_gid /* file member group identification */
char ar_mode /* file member mode (octal) */
char ar_size; /* file member size */
char ar_fmag; /* header trailer string */
All information in the file member headers is in printable ASCII. The numeric information
contained in the headers is stored as decimal numbers (except for ar_mode which is in
octal). Thus, if the archive contains printable files, the archive itself is printable.
If the file member name fits, the ar_name field contains the name directly, and is termi-
nated by a slash (/) and padded with blanks on the right. If the member's name does not
fit, ar_name contains a slash (/) followed by a decimal representation of the name's off-
set in the archive string table described below.
The ar_date field is the modification date of the file at the time of its insertion into
the archive. Common format archives can be moved from system to system as long as the por-
table archive command ar is used.
Each archive file member begins on an even byte boundary; a newline is inserted between
files if necessary. Nevertheless, the size given reflects the actual size of the file
exclusive of padding.
Notice there is no provision for empty areas in an archive file.
Each archive that contains object files (see a.out(4)) includes an archive symbol table.
This symbol table is used by the link editor ld to determine which archive members must
be loaded during the link edit process. The archive symbol table (if it exists) is always
the first file in the archive (but is never listed) and is automatically created and/or
updated by ar.
The archive symbol table has a zero length name (that is, ar_name is '/'),
ar_name==' ', etc.). All ``words'' in this symbol table have four bytes, using the
machine-independent encoding shown below. All machines use the encoding described here for
the symbol table, even if the machine's ``natural'' byte order is different.
0 1 2 3
0x01020304 01 02 03 04
The contents of this file are as follows:
1. The number of symbols. Length: 4 bytes.
2. The array of offsets into the archive file. Length: 4 bytes * ``the number of
3. The name string table. Length: ar_size - 4 bytes * (``the number of symbols''
As an example, the following symbol table defines 4 symbols. The archive member at file
offset 114 defines name. The archive member at file offset 122 defines object. The archive
member at file offset 426 defines function and the archive member at file offset 434
Example Symbol Table
Offset +0 +1 +2 +3
0 | 4 | 4 offset entries
4 | 114 | name
8 | 122 | object
12 | 426 | function
16 | 434 | name2
20 | n | a | m | e |
24 | \0 | o | b | j |
28 | e | c | t | \0 |
32 | f | u | n | c |
36 | t | i | o | n |
40 | \0 | n | a | m |
44 | e | 2 | \0 | |
The string table contains exactly as many null terminated strings as there are elements in
the offsets array. Each offset from the array is associated with the corresponding name
from the string table (in order). The names in the string table are all the defined global
symbols found in the common object files in the archive. Each offset is the location of
the archive header for the associated symbol.
If some archive member's name is more than 15 bytes long, a special archive member con-
tains a table of file names, each followed by a slash and a new-line. This string table
member, if present, will precede all ``normal'' archive members. The special archive sym-
bol table is not a ``normal'' member, and must be first if it exists. The ar_name entry of
the string table's member header holds a zero length name ar_name=='/', followed by one
trailing slash (ar_name=='/'), followed by blanks (ar_name==' ', etc.). Offsets into
the string table begin at zero. Example ar_name values for short and long file names
Offset +0 +1 +2 +3 +4 +5 +6 +7 +8 +9
0 | f | i | l | e | _ | n | a | m | e | _ |
10 | s | a | m | p | l | e | / | \n | l | o |
20 | n | g | e | r | f | i | l | e | n | a |
30 | m | e | x | a | m | p | l | e | / | \n |
Member Name ar_name
short-name | short-name/ | Not in string table
file_name_sample | /0 | Offset 0 in string table
longerfilenamexample | /18 | Offset 18 in string table
ar(1), ld(1), strip(1), a.out(4)
The strip utility will remove all archive symbol entries from the header. The archive
symbol entries must be restored with the -ts options of the ar command before the archive
can be used with the link editor ld.
SunOS 5.11 1 Jul 1998 ar.h(3HEAD)