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Converting a Raw Binary File Into an ELF/Dwarf File

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Converting a Raw Binary File Into an ELF/Dwarf File

Need to convert your binary file into an ELF or Dwarf file to help with debugging and loading? Here are the simple steps to make it happen.

· IoT Zone ·
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Binary files are just a binary blob without debug information. Most debug tools and flashers are able to deal (raw) binary (see S-Record, Intel Hex, and Binary Files). But GDB and/or the P&E GDB server really needs an ELF/Dwarf file, which usually has all the debug information in it. This is a problem if all that I have is a binary file.

This post is about transforming a raw binary (.bin) file into an ELF/Dwarf file and adding a header to it:

Added Elf Header to Raw Binary File

Added ELF header to the raw binary file

I can make an ELF file out of a bin (raw binary) file with the GNU ‘objcopy‘ command like this:

arm-none-eabi-objcopy.exe --input-target=binary --output-target=elf32-little myApp.bin myApp.bin.elf

myApp.bin’ is the application binary file, and it adds an ELF/Dwarf header file to the output file myApp.bin.elf. I can inspect/verify that with the ‘readelf’ GNU program:

arm-none-eabi-readelf.exe -a myApp.bin.elf

Which gives, for example:

ELF Header:
 Magic: 7f 45 4c 46 01 01 01 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 
 Class: ELF32
 Data: 2's complement, little endian
 Version: 1 (current)
 OS/ABI: UNIX - System V
 ABI Version: 0
 Type: REL (Relocatable file)
 Machine: None
 Version: 0x1
 Entry point address: 0x0
 Start of program headers: 0 (bytes into file)
 Start of section headers: 26956 (bytes into file)
 Flags: 0x0
 Size of this header: 52 (bytes)
 Size of program headers: 0 (bytes)
 Number of program headers: 0
 Size of section headers: 40 (bytes)
 Number of section headers: 5
 Section header string table index: 2

Section Headers:
 [Nr] Name Type Addr Off Size ES Flg Lk Inf Al
 [ 0] NULL 00000000 000000 000000 00 0 0 0
 [ 1] .data PROGBITS 00000000 000034 0068f4 00 WA 0 0 1
 [ 2] .shstrtab STRTAB 00000000 006928 000021 00 0 0 1
 [ 3] .symtab SYMTAB 00000000 006a14 000050 10 4 2 4
 [ 4] .strtab STRTAB 00000000 006a64 000058 00 0 0 1
Key to Flags:
 W (write), A (alloc), X (execute), M (merge), S (strings)
 I (info), L (link order), G (group), T (TLS), E (exclude), x (unknown)
 O (extra OS processing required) o (OS specific), p (processor specific)

Now I can use that file like any normal ELF/Dwarf file (of course, it does not have debug information in it), e.g. see Using Eclipse to Program Binary Files to an Embedded Target.

That’s all!

Happy Binaring!


iot ,debugging ,embedded development ,bin file ,elf file ,dwarf file ,tutorial

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