Relocatable Object Module Format

Relocatable Object Module Format

File Format
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Relocatable Object Module Format

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The Relocatable Object Module Format is an object file format used primarily for software intended to run on Intel 80x86 microprocessors. It was originally developed by Intel under the name Object Module Format, and is perhaps best known to DOS users as a .OBJ file. It has since been standardised by the Tool Interface Standards Committee.

File format

The file format differs very much from other object file formats.

Most other object file formats (like COFF which is used on modern Microsoft Windows variants) use a file header and different tables (such as the relocation table). These tables are either stored on fixed positions in the file (like in the a.out format) or pointers to the tables are used (like in the ELF format). The data of the "sections" (e.g., code, data area, ...) are stored as contiguous area of bytes within such files.

The Relocatable Object Module Format (OMF) however consists of so-called records that have the following format:
  • 1 byte record type (e.g. relocation information)
  • 2 bytes data length (N+1)
  • N bytes data (depending on the record type)
  • 1 byte checksum or 0
There are no file offsets (like a pointer to a symbol table) in the file. Therefore a linker must parse all entries (records) of the object file to get information about it.

Unlike other object file formats in the OMF format data of one section (e.g., code) is not represented as contiguous bytes in the file. Instead the data of one section (e.g., the code section) can be...
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