11 September 2007

ACCU Cambridge Talk - The Missing Link

This month's ACCU Cambridge "The Missing Link" talk was held at the DisplayLink offices on the 6th of September. Presenting the talk was Peter Smith who is part of the linker team at ARM.

The Missing Link talk was about the role of the linker in software development. The talk detailed the history, the design of, and the use of linkers. The talk was about an hour long but could easily have gone on longer. Certainly from the tak I got the impression that the linker is a rather unloved part of the compilation process. In fact there is really only one book about linkers called "Linkers and Loaders" which is available online from this link.

The talk itself was entertaining and was at a suitably high level for everyone to understand. The actual architecture of compilation and linking really has not changed to much throughout its history. Some of the more interesting parts of the talk were the discussions about name mangling and the reasoning behind it, and the caveats that need to be implemented to get around things like templates in C++.

I think there is a plan for the slides to be available online via the ACCU website.

As always though after the event you can learn lots more by going to the pub. A good turnout for the pub was the icing on the cake.

The next talk will be about dynamic languages and will be held on the 4th October. Keep an eye on the .