11.2 The Tools

11.2.1 The Assembler

The most important tool for assembly language programming is the assembler, the software that converts assembly language code into machine language.

Two very different assemblers are available for FreeBSD. One is as(1), which uses the traditional UNIX® assembly language syntax. It comes with the system.

The other is /usr/ports/devel/nasm. It uses the Intel syntax. Its main advantage is that it can assemble code for many operating systems. It needs to be installed separately, but is completely free.

This chapter uses nasm syntax because most assembly language programmers coming to FreeBSD from other operating systems will find it easier to understand. And, because, quite frankly, that is what I am used to.

11.2.2 The Linker

The output of the assembler, like that of any compiler, needs to be linked to form an executable file.

The standard ld(1) linker comes with FreeBSD. It works with the code assembled with either assembler.