The Netwide Assembler (NASM) is an assembler and disassembler for the Intel x86 architecture. It can be used to write 16-bit, 32-bit (IA-32) and 64-bit (x86-64) programs. NASM is considered to be one of the most popular assemblers for Linux.
|Original author(s)||Simon Tatham, Julian Hall|
|Developer(s)||H. Peter Anvin, et al.|
|Initial release||October 1996|
2.14.02 / December 26, 2018
|Operating system||Unix-like, Windows, OS/2, MS-DOS|
NASM was originally written by Simon Tatham with assistance from Julian Hall. As of 2016, it is maintained by a small team led by H. Peter Anvin. It is open-source software released under the terms of a simplified (2-clause) BSD license.
NASM can output several binary formats, including COFF, OMF, a.out, Executable and Linkable Format (ELF), Mach-O and binary file (.bin, binary disk image, used to compile operating systems), though position-independent code is supported only for ELF object files. NASM also has its own binary format called RDOFF.
The variety of output formats allows retargeting programs to virtually any x86 operating system (OS). Also, NASM can create flat binary files, usable to write boot loaders, read-only memory (ROM) images, and in various facets of OS development. NASM can run on non-x86 platforms as a cross assembler, such as PowerPC and SPARC, though it cannot generate programs usable by those machines.
NASM uses a variant of Intel assembly syntax instead of AT&T syntax. It also avoids features such as automatic generation of segment overrides (and the related ASSUME directive) used by MASM and compatible assemblers.
Examples of programs for various operating systems
section .text org 0x100 mov ah, 0x9 mov dx, hello int 0x21 mov ax, 0x4c00 int 0x21 section .data hello: db 'Hello, world!', 13, 10, '$'
An equivalent program for Linux:
global _start section .text _start: mov eax, 4 ; write mov ebx, 1 ; stdout mov ecx, msg mov edx, msg.len int 0x80 ; write(stdout, msg, strlen(msg)); xor eax, msg.len ; invert return value from write() xchg eax, ebx ; value for exit() mov eax, 1 ; exit int 0x80 ; exit(...) section .data msg: db "Hello, world!", 10 .len: equ $ - msg
An example of a similar program for Microsoft Windows:
global _main extern _MessageBoxA@16 extern _ExitProcess@4 section code use32 class=code _main: push dword 0 ; UINT uType = MB_OK push dword title ; LPCSTR lpCaption push dword banner ; LPCSTR lpText push dword 0 ; HWND hWnd = NULL call _MessageBoxA@16 push dword 0 ; UINT uExitCode call _ExitProcess@4 section data use32 class=data banner: db 'Hello, world!', 0 title: db 'Hello', 0
Below is a 64-bit program for Apple OS X that inputs a keystroke and shows it on the screen
global _start section .data query_string: db "Enter a character: " query_string_len: equ $ - query_string out_string: db "You have input: " out_string_len: equ $ - out_string section .bss in_char: resw 4 section .text _start: mov rax, 0x2000004 ; put the write-system-call-code into register rax mov rdi, 1 ; tell kernel to use stdout mov rsi, query_string ; rsi is where the kernel expects to find the address of the message mov rdx, query_string_len ; and rdx is where the kernel expects to find the length of the message syscall ; read in the character mov rax, 0x2000003 ; read system call mov rdi, 0 ; stdin mov rsi, in_char ; address for storage, declared in section .bss mov rdx, 2 ; get 2 bytes from the kernel's buffer (one for the carriage return) syscall ; show user the output mov rax, 0x2000004 ; write system call mov rdi, 1 ; stdout mov rsi, out_string mov rdx, out_string_len syscall mov rax, 0x2000004 ; write system call mov rdi, 1 ; stdout mov rsi, in_char mov rdx, 2 ; the second byte is to apply the carriage return expected in the string syscall ; exit system call mov rax, 0x2000001 ; exit system call xor rdi, rdi syscall
NASM principally outputs object files, which are generally not executable by themselves. The only exception to this are flat binaries (e.g., .COM) which are inherently limited in modern use. To translate the object files into executable programs, an appropriate linker must be used, such as the Visual Studio "LINK" utility for Windows or ld for Unix-like systems.
On 28 November 2007, version 2.00 was released, adding support for x86-64 extensions. The development versions are not uploaded to SourceForge.net; instead, they are checked into the project's own Git repository with binary snapshots available from the project web page.
In July 2009, as of version 2.07, NASM was released under the Simplified (2-clause) BSD license. Previously, because NASM was licensed under LGPL, it led to development of Yasm, a complete rewrite of the NASM under the New BSD License. Yasm offered support for x86-64 earlier than NASM. It also added support for GNU Assembler syntax.
|Developed by||Julian Hall|
|Type of format||Object file format|
|Container for||Object code|
Relocatable Dynamic Object File Format (RDOFF) is used by developers to test the integrity of NASM's object file output abilities. It is based heavily on the internal structure of NASM, essentially consisting of a header containing a serialization of the output driver function calls followed by an array of sections containing executable code or data. Tools for using the format, including a linker and loader, are included in the NASM distribution.
Until version 0.90 was released in October 1996, NASM supported output of only flat-format executable files (e.g., DOS COM files). In version 0.90, Simon Tatham added support for an object-file output interface, and for DOS .OBJ files for 16-bit code only.
NASM thus lacked a 32-bit object format. To address this lack, and as an exercise to learn the object-file interface, developer Julian Hall put together the first version of RDOFF, which was released in NASM version 0.91.
Since this initial version, there has been one major update to the RDOFF format, which added a record-length indicator on each header record, allowing programs to skip over records whose format they do not recognise, and support for multiple segments; RDOFF1 only supported three segments: text, data and bss (containing uninitialized data).
- Ram Narayan. "Linux assemblers: A comparison of GAS and NASM". Archived from the original on 3 October 2013.
two of the most popular assemblers for Linux, GNU Assembler (GAS) and Netwide Assembler (NASM)
- "The Netwide Assembler". Retrieved 27 June 2008.
- "NASM Version History". Retrieved 3 August 2019.
- "NASM Manual". Archived from the original on 23 February 2009. Retrieved 15 August 2009.
- Randall Hyde. "NASM: The Netwide Assembler". Archived from the original on 12 September 2010. Retrieved 27 June 2008.
- "NASM Version History". Retrieved 3 August 2019.
- "NASM Doc Search Engine". Archived from the original on 23 January 2010. Retrieved 14 September 2009.
- "NASM Manual Ch. 6". Retrieved 27 June 2008.
- "NASM CVS". 8 June 2008. Retrieved 27 June 2008.
- "V1-V2.txt". 4 December 2002. Retrieved 27 June 2008.