ELF spec. types of object files

A  relocatable  file holds  code  and  data suitable  for
linking with  other object files to  create an executable
or a shared object file.

An   executable  file  holds   a  program   suitable  for
execution; the  file specifies how  exec(BA_OS) creates a
program's process image.

A  shared object file  holds code  and data  suitable for
linking  in two  contexts.  First,  the link  editor [see
ld(SD_CMD)]  may process  it with  other  relocatable and
shared  object  files  to  create  another  object  file.
Second, the dynamic linker combines it with an executable
file and other shared objects to create a process image.

source : ELF Specification.

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