lari - link analysis of runtime interfaces
lari [-bCDsv] [-a | -i | -o] file | directory...
lari [-CDosv] [-m [-d mapdir]] file
The lari utility analyzes the interface requirements of dynamic ELF objects. Two basic modes of operation are available. The first mode
displays runtime interface information. The second mode generates interface definitions.
Dynamic objects offer symbolic definitions that represent the interface that the object provides for external consumers. At runtime, bind-
ings are established from the symbolic references of one object to the symbolic definitions of another object. lari analyzes both the
interface definitions and runtime bindings of the specified objects.
When displaying runtime interface information, lari can analyze a number of files and/or directories. lari analyzes each file that is spec-
ified on the command line. lari recursively descends into each directory that is specified on the command line, processing each file that
When generating interface definitions, lari can only process a single file specified on the command line.
Without the -D option, lari processes files as dynamic ELF objects by using ldd(1). This processing uses the following options:
-r and -e LD_DEBUG=files,bindings,detail
These options provide information on all bindings that are established as part of loading the object. Notice that by using ldd, the speci-
fied object is not executed, and hence no user controlled loading of objects, by dlopen(3C) for example, occurs. To capture all binding
information from an executing process, the following environment variables can be passed directly to the runtime linker, ld.so.1(1):
The resulting debug output, lari.dbg.pid, can be processed by lari using the -D option. Note: lari attempts to analyze each object that has
been processed using the path name defined in the debug output. Each object must therefore be accessible to lari for a complete, accurate
analysis to be provided. The debug output file must be generated in the C locale.
When displaying interface information, lari analyzes the interfaces of the processed dynamic objects and, by default, displays any inter-
esting information. See Interesting Information under . The information that is displayed is also suitable for piping to other tools. This
capability can aid developers in analyzing process bindings or debugging complex binding scenarios.
The generation of interface definitions by lari can be used to refine the interface requirements of the dynamic objects that are processed.
When creating a dynamic object, you should define an explicit, versioned interface. This definition controls the symbol definitions that
are available to external users. In addition, this definition frequently reduces the overall runtime execution cost of the object. Inter-
face definitions can be assigned to an object during its creation by the link-editor using the -M option and the associated mapfile direc-
tives. See the for more details on using mapfiles to version objects. An initial version of these mapfiles can be created by lari.
The following options are supported.
-a Displays all interface information for the objects analyzed. Note: The output from this option can be substantial, but is
often useful for piping to other analysis tools.
-b Limits the interface information to those symbols that have been explicitly bound to. Note: Symbols defined as protected
might have been bound to from within the defining object. This binding is satisfied at link-edit time and is therefore not
visible to the runtime environment. Protected symbols are displayed with this option.
-C Demangles C++ symbol names. This option is useful for augmenting runtime interface information. When generating interface
definitions, demangled names are added to the mapfiles as comments.
-d mapdir Defines the directory, mapdir, in which mapfiles are created. By default, the current working directory is used.
-D Interprets any input files as debugging information rather than as dynamic objects.
-i Displays interesting interface binding information. This mode is the default if no other output controlling option is sup-
plied. See Interesting Information under .
-m Creates mapfiles for each dynamic object that is processed. These mapfiles reflect the interface requirements of each
object as required by the input file being processed.
-o Limits the interface information to those symbols that are deemed an overhead. When creating mapfiles, any overhead symbols
are itemized as local symbols. See Overhead Information under .
-s Saves the bindings information produced from ldd(1) for further analysis. See .
-v Ignores any objects that are already versioned. Versioned objects have had their interfaces defined, but can contribute to
the interface information displayed. For example, a versioned shared object might reveal overhead symbols for a particular
process. Shared objects are frequently designed for use by multiple processes, and thus the interfaces these objects pro-
vide can extend beyond the requirements of any one process. The -v option therefore, can reduce noise when displaying
The runtime interface information produced from lari has the following format:
[information]: symbol-name [demangled-name]: object-name
Each line describes the interface symbol, symbol-name, together with the object, object-name, in which the symbol is defined. If the symbol
represents a function, the symbol name is followed by (). If the symbol represents a data object, the symbol name is followed by the sym-
bols size, enclosed within . If the -C option is used, the symbol name is accompanied by the symbols demangled name, demangled-name. The
information field provides one or more of the following tokens that describe the symbol's use:
cnt:bnd Two decimal values indicate the symbol count, cnt, and the number of bindings to this object, bnd. The symbol count is the number
of occurrences of this symbol definition that have been found in the objects that are analyzed. A count that is greater than 1
indicates multiple instances of a symbol definition. The number of bindings indicate the number of objects that have been bound to
this symbol definition by the runtime linker.
E This symbol definition has been bound to from an external object.
S This symbol definition has been bound to from the same object.
D This symbol definition has been directly bound to.
I This object explicitly identifies itself as an interposor. See the -z interpose option of ld(1), and the LD_PRELOAD variable of
C This symbol definition is the reference data of a copy-relocation.
F This symbol definition resides in a filtee.
P This symbol is defined as protected. This symbol might have an internal binding from the object in which the symbol is declared.
Any internal bindings with this attribute can not be interposed upon by another symbol definition.
A This symbol definition is the address of a procedure linkage table entry within a dynamic executable.
U This symbol lookup originated from a user request, for example, dlsym(3C).
R This symbol definition is acting as a filter, and provides for redirection to a filtee.
N This symbol definition explicitly prohibits directly binding to the definition.
See the for more details of these symbol classifications.
By default, or specifically using the -i option, lari filters any runtime interface information to present interesting events. This filter-
ing is carried out mainly to reduce the amount of information that can be generated from large applications. In addition, this information
is intended to be the focus in debugging complex binding scenarios, and often highlights problem areas. However, classifying what informa-
tion is interesting for any particular application is an inexact science. You are still free to use the -a option and to search the binding
information for events that are unique to the application being investigated.
When an interesting symbol definition is discovered, all other definitions of the same symbol are output.
The focus of interesting interface information is the existence of multiple definitions of a symbol. In this case, one symbol typically
interposes on one or more other symbol definitions. This interposition is seen when the binding count, bnd, of one definition is non-zero,
while the binding count of all other definitions is zero. Interposition that results from the compilation environment, or the linking envi-
ronment, is not characterized as interesting. Examples of these interposition occurrences include copy relocations ([C]) and the binding to
procedure linkage addresses ([A]).
Interposition is often desirable. The intent is to overload, or replace, the symbolic definition from a shared object. Interpositioning
objects can be explicitly tagged ([I]), using the -z interpose option of ld(1). These objects can safely interpose on symbols, no matter
what order the objects are loaded in a process. However, be cautious when non-explicit interposition is employed, as this interposition is
a consequence of the load-order of the objects that make up the process.
User-created, multiply-defined symbols are output from lari as interesting. In this example, two definitions of interpose1() exist, but
only the definition in main is referenced:
[2:1E]: interpose1(): ./main
[2:0]: interpose1(): ./libA.so
Interposition can also be an undesirable and surprising event, caused by an unexpected symbol name clash. A symptom of this interposition
might be that a function is never called although you know a reference to the function exists. This scenario can be identified as a multi-
ply defined symbol, as covered in the previous example. However, a more surprising scenario is often encountered when an object both
defines and references a specific symbol.
An example of this scenario is if two dynamic objects define and reference the same function, interpose2(). Any reference to this symbol
binds to the first dynamic object loaded with the process. In this case, the definition of interpose2() in object libA.so interposes on,
and hides, the definition of interpose2() in object libB.so. The output from lari might be:
[2:2ES]: interpose2(): ./libA.so
[2:0]: interpose2(): ./libB.so
Multiply defined symbols can also be bound to separately. Separate bindings can be the case when direct bindings are in effect ([D]), or
because a symbol has protected visibility ([P]). Although separate bindings can be explicitly established, instances can exist that are
unexpected and surprising. Directly bound symbols, and symbols with protected visibility, are output as interesting information.
When using the -o option, lari displays symbol definitions that might be considered overhead.
Global symbols that are not referenced are considered an overhead. The symbol information that is provided within the object unnecessarily
adds to the size of the object's text segment. In addition, the symbol information can increase the processing required to search for other
symbolic references within the object at runtime.
Global symbols that are only referenced from the same object have the same characteristics. The runtime search for a symbolic reference,
that results in binding to the same object that made the reference, is an additional overhead.
Both of these symbol definitions are candidates for reduction to local scope by defining the object's interface. Interface definitions can
be assigned to a file during its creation by the link-editor using the -M option and the associated mapfile directives. See the for more
details on mapfiles. Use lari with the -m option to create initial versions of these mapfiles.
If lari is used to generate mapfiles, versioned shared objects will have mapfiles created indicating that their overhead symbols should be
reduced to locals. This model allows lari to generate mapfiles for comparison with existing interface definitions. Use the -v option to
ignore versioned shared objects when creating mapfiles.
Copy-relocations are also viewed as an overhead and generally should be avoided. The size of the copied data is a definition of its inter-
face. This definition restricts the ability to change the data size in newer versions of the shared object in which the data is defined.
This restriction, plus the cost of processing a copy relocation, can be avoided by referencing data using a functional interface. The out-
put from lari for a copy relocation might be:
[2:1EC]: __iob[0x140]: ./main
[2:0]: __iob[0x140]: ./libA.so.1
Notice that a number of small copy relocations, such as __iob used in the previous example, exist because of historic programming interac-
tions with system libraries.
Another example of overhead information is the binding of a dynamic object to the procedure linkage table entry of a dynamic executable. If
a dynamic executable references an external function, a procedure linkage table entry is created. This structure allows the reference bind-
ing to be deferred until the function call is actually made. If a dynamic object takes the address of the same referenced function, the
dynamic object binds to the dynamic executables procedure linkage table entry. An example of this type of event reveals the following:
[2:1EA]: foo(): ./main
[2:1E]: foo(): ./libA.so
A small number of bindings of this type are typically not cause for concern. However, a large number of these bindings, perhaps from a
jump-table programming technique, can contribute to start up overhead. Address relocation bindings of this type require relocation process-
ing at application start up, rather than the deferred relocation processing used when calling functions directly. Use of this address also
requires an indirection at runtime.
Example 1: Analyzing a case of multiple bindings
The following example shows the analysis of a process in which multiple symbol definitions exist. The shared objects libX.so and libY.so
both call the function interpose(). This function exists in both the application main, and the shared object libA.so. Because of interposi-
tion, both references bind to the definition of interpose() in main.
The shared objects libX.so and libY.so also both call the function foo(). This function exists in the application main, and the shared
objects libA.so, libX.so, and libY.so. Because both libX.so and libY.so were built with direct bindings enabled, each object binds to its
example% lari ./main
[3:0]: foo(): ./libA.so
[3:1SD]: foo(): ./libX.so
[3:1SD]: foo(): ./libY.so
[2:0]: interpose(): ./libA.so
[2:2EP]: interpose(): ./main
To analyze binding information more thoroughly, the bindings data can be saved for further inspection. For example, the previous output
indicates that the function interpose() was called from two objects external to main. Inspection of the binding output reveals where the
references to this function originated.
example% lari -s ./main
lari: ./main: bindings information saved as: /usr/tmp/lari.dbg.main
example% fgrep foo /usr/tmp/lari.dbg.main
binding file=./libX.so to file=./main: symbol `interpose'
binding file=./libY.so to file=./main: symbol `interpose'
Note: The bindings output is typically more extensive than shown here, as the output is accompanied with process identifier, address and
other bindings information.
Example 2: Generating an interface definition
The following example creates interface definitions for an application and its dependency, while ignoring any versioned system libraries.
The application main makes reference to the interfaces one(), two(), and three() in foo.so:
example% lari -omv ./main
example% cat mapfile-foo.so
# Interface Definition mapfile for:
# Dynamic Object: ./foo.so
# Process: ./main
$TMPDIR/lari.dbg.file Binding output produced by ldd(1).
See attributes(5) for descriptions of the following attributes:
| ATTRIBUTE TYPE | ATTRIBUTE VALUE |
|Availability |SUNWtoo |
|Interface Stability |See below. |
Human readable output is Unstable. Options are Evolving.
ld(1), ldd(1), ld.so.1(1), dlopen(3C), dlsym(3C), attributes(5)
27 Apr 2005 lari(1)