World Library  
Flag as Inappropriate
Email this Article

Application binary interface

Article Id: WHEBN0000060471
Reproduction Date:

Title: Application binary interface  
Author: World Heritage Encyclopedia
Language: English
Subject: Binary code compatibility, Component Object Model, Executable and Linkable Format, Linux kernel, Intelligent Input Bus
Collection: Application Programming Interfaces, Operating System Technology
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia

Application binary interface

Compiling the operating systems and commercial programs conforming to the Linux Standard Base, shall result in a stable Application Binary Interface (ABI) and hence in binary portability.
Linux kernel and GNU C Library define the Linux API. After compilation, the binaries offer an ABI; keeping this ABI stable over a long time is important for ISVs.

In computer software, an application binary interface (ABI) is the interface between two program modules, one of which is often a library or operating system, at the level of machine code. An ABI determines such details as how functions are called and in which binary format information should be passed from one program component to the next, or to the operating system in the case of a system call.

Adhering to ABIs (which may or may not be officially standardized) is usually the job of the compiler, OS or library writer, but application programmers may have to deal with ABIs directly when writing programs in a mix of programming languages, using foreign function call interfaces between them.

ABIs differ from application programming interfaces (APIs), which similarly define interfaces between program components, but at the source code level.


  • Description 1
  • EABI 2
  • See also 3
  • References 4
  • External links 5


ABIs cover details such as:

  • the sizes, layout, and alignment of data types
  • the calling convention, which controls how functions' arguments are passed and return values retrieved; for example, whether all parameters are passed on the stack or some are passed in registers, which registers are used for which function parameters, and whether the first function parameter passed on the stack is pushed first or last onto the stack
  • how an application should make system calls to the operating system and, if the ABI specifies direct system calls rather than procedure calls to system call stubs, the system call numbers
  • and in the case of a complete operating system ABI, the binary format of object files, program libraries and so on.

A complete ABI, such as the Intel Binary Compatibility Standard (iBCS),[1] allows a program from one operating system supporting that ABI to run without modifications on any other such system, provided that necessary shared libraries are present, and similar prerequisites are fulfilled.

Other ABIs standardize details such as the C++ name mangling,[2] exception propagation,[3] and calling convention between compilers on the same platform, but do not require cross-platform compatibility.


An embedded-application binary interface (EABI) specifies standard conventions for embedded software program.

Compilers that support the EABI create object code that is compatible with code generated by other such compilers, thus allowing developers to link libraries generated with one compiler with object code generated with a different compiler. Developers writing their own assembly language code may also use the EABI to interface with assembly generated by a compliant compiler.

The main differences of an EABI with respect to an ABI for general purpose operating systems are that privileged instructions are allowed in application code, dynamic linking is not required (sometimes it is completely disallowed), and a more compact stack frame organization is used to save memory.[4] The choice of EABI can affect performance.[5][6]

Widely used EABIs include PowerPC,[7] ARM EABI2[8] and MIPS EABI.[9]

See also


  1. ^ Intel Binary Compatibility Standard (iBCS)
  2. ^ Itanium C++ ABI (compatible with multiple architectures)
  3. ^ Itanium C++ ABI: Exception Handling (compatible with multiple architectures)
  4. ^ "EABI Summary". PowerPC Embedded Application Binary Interface: 32-Bit Implementation (Version 1.0 ed.). Freescale Semiconductor, Inc. 1995-10-01. pp. 28–30. 
  5. ^ "Debian ARM accelerates via EABI port". 2007-01-19. Archived from the original on 21 January 2007. Retrieved 2007-10-11. 
  6. ^ Andrés Calderón and Nelson Castillo (2007-03-14). "Why ARM's EABI matters". Archived from the original on 31 March 2007. Retrieved 2007-10-11. 
  7. ^ "PowerPC Embedded Processors Application Note"
  8. ^ "ARM Information Center". Retrieved 2014-02-27. 
  9. ^ "Eric Christopher - mips eabi documentation". 2003-06-11. Retrieved 2014-02-27. 

External links

  • KDE Techbase Policies - Good compendium of development rules of thumb (with some examples) for not breaking binary compatibility between releases of your library.
  • Mac OS X ABI Function Call Guide
  • Debian ARM EABI port
  • µClib: Motorola 8/16-bit embedded ABI
  • AMD64 (x86-64) Application Binary Interface
  • Application Binary Interface (ABI) for the ARM Architecture
  • MIPS EABI documentation
  • Sun Studio 10 Compilers and the AMD64 ABI - Good summary and comparison about some popular ABIs
  • "M•CORE Applications Binary Interface Standards Manual" for the Freescale M·CORE processors
This article was sourced from Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License; additional terms may apply. World Heritage Encyclopedia content is assembled from numerous content providers, Open Access Publishing, and in compliance with The Fair Access to Science and Technology Research Act (FASTR), Wikimedia Foundation, Inc., Public Library of Science, The Encyclopedia of Life, Open Book Publishers (OBP), PubMed, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Center for Biotechnology Information, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health (NIH), U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, and, which sources content from all federal, state, local, tribal, and territorial government publication portals (.gov, .mil, .edu). Funding for and content contributors is made possible from the U.S. Congress, E-Government Act of 2002.
Crowd sourced content that is contributed to World Heritage Encyclopedia is peer reviewed and edited by our editorial staff to ensure quality scholarly research articles.
By using this site, you agree to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. World Heritage Encyclopedia™ is a registered trademark of the World Public Library Association, a non-profit organization.

Copyright © World Library Foundation. All rights reserved. eBooks from Project Gutenberg are sponsored by the World Library Foundation,
a 501c(4) Member's Support Non-Profit Organization, and is NOT affiliated with any governmental agency or department.