Input Section for Common Symbols

A special notation is needed for common symbols, because in many object file formats common symbols do not have a particular input section. The linker treats common symbols as though they are in an input section named COMMON.

You may use file names with the COMMON section just as with any other input sections. You can use this to place common symbols from a particular input file in one section while common symbols from other input files are placed in another section.

In most cases, common symbols in input files will be placed in the .bss section in the output file. For example:

     .bss { *(.bss) *(COMMON) }

Some object file formats have more than one type of common symbol. For example, the MIPS ELF object file format distinguishes standard common symbols and small common symbols. In this case, the linker will use a different special section name for other types of common symbols. In the case of MIPS ELF, the linker uses COMMON for standard common symbols and .scommon for small common symbols. This permits you to map the different types of common symbols into memory at different locations.

You will sometimes see [COMMON] in old linker scripts. This notation is now considered obsolete. It is equivalent to *(COMMON).