- 1 Introduction
- 2 Accessing video
- 3 Example Framework
- 4 Adding Sound
- 5 Larger productions (1k and 4k intros)
For X86 related information, please check the main pages on this website, as a lot of the same tricks will also work with X86 linux sizecoding. This page goes into the specifics of getting actual small binaries on linux using assembler.
While there have been attempts in getting tiny intros to work using self-compilation tricks (using gcc or python hacks), development of actual tiny ELF executables on linux is still in its early days.
So a huge thanks goes out to byteobserver as well as some early work by frag/fsqrt for all their research and hard work in producing tiny ELF binaries for linux.
This section of the sizecoding.org wiki targets 32-bit X86 based Linux binaries (ELF format).
Setting up your development platform for Linux development:
- Suggested Distributions : Any X86-based Linux distribution that allows for execution of 32-bit executables.
- Assembler: NASM (or any other linux compatible 32-bit X86 assembler)
Furthermore, it is important that the user has access to the dev/fbo framebuffer. This can be achieved by launching a virtual (fullscreen) console using CTRL-F3/F4 in most distributions, login and making sure the user has access to the video group. If this is not the case for some reason, you can add your user to the videogroup like so:
sudo usermod -a -G video username
Note: Make sure your binary is executable for everyone using the chmod 777 command after compilation :D
Interaction with the Linux OS is mostly done via int 0x80 system calls. This usually includes dealing with opening files/framebuffer/audio and handling timers.
A full list of system calls and their expected register arguments is available at: https://syscalls32.paolostivanin.com/
ELF Header Information
Like a 32-bit windows executable, a 32-bit binary for linux comes with a pretty hefty ELF header.
org 0x00010000 ehdr: ; Elf32_Ehdr db 0x7F, "ELF", 1, 1, 1, 0 ; e_ident times 8 db 0 dw 2 ; e_type dw 3 ; e_machine dd 1 ; e_version dd _start ; e_entry dd phdr - $$ ; e_phoff dd 0 ; e_shoff dd 0 ; e_flags dw ehdrsize ; e_ehsize dw phdrsize ; e_phentsize dw 1 ; e_phnum dw 0 ; e_shentsize dw 0 ; e_shnum dw 0 ; e_shstrndx phdr: ; Elf32_Phdr dd 1 ; p_type dd 0 ; p_offset dd $$ ; p_vaddr dd $$ ; p_paddr dd filesize ; p_filesz dd filesize ; p_memsz dd 5 ; p_flags dd 0x1000 ; p_align _start: ; your program here
Luckily some parts of the ELF header can be repurposed and used to store some data and code. There is quite an extensive journey about some header optimisations available at http://www.muppetlabs.com/~breadbox/software/tiny/teensy.html for those that are interested.
After merging the ehr and phr parts and changing your entry point, we can get the header down to about the 30 bytes range with a nifty /dev/fb0 string inserted which we'll be able to use later for setting up the framebuffer.
org $00010000 db $7F,"ELF" ; e_ident dd 1 ; p_type dd 0 ; p_offset dd $$ ; p_vaddr dw 2 ; e_type, p_paddr dw 3 ; e_machine dd entry ; e_version, p_filesz dd entry ; e_entry, p_memsz dd 4 ; e_phoff, p_flags fname: db "/dev/fb0",0 ; e_shoff, p_align, e_flags, e_ehsize entry: ; this next instruction overlaps with a critical part of the elf header ; it needs to look like XX YY YY YY YY where YYYYYYYY=fname ; so you can change the register to something else or use push ; but the four byte pointer to fname cannot be changed. mov ebx,fname ; e_phentsize, e_phnum ; e_shentsize, e_shnum, e_shstrndx are below but we can put whatever code/bytes we want there mov cl,1 ; set read/write mode (1 or inc ecx is sufficient for pcopy method, read/write (3) is needed for mmap) mov al,5 ; 5 = open syscall int 0x80 ; open /dev/fb0 = 3
Video can be accessed by either
Setting up the framebuffer
To be added soon.
Getting something on screen
First we need to fill up our local memorybuffer with pixeldata, so lets start doing that using the old AND pattern
mov ecx,width*height setpixels: mov ebx,width mov eax,ecx cdq div ebx ; edx = x-coord , eax=y coord and eax,edx ; xor pattern mov [esp+ecx*4+0],al ; b mov [esp+ecx*4+1],al ; g mov [esp+ecx*4+2],al ; r loop setpixels
Once your buffer (in this case marked by the esp stackpointer) is all filled up with pixeldata, you can copy it to the /dev/fb0 using the pwrite64 syscall like so:
; copy memorybuffer to screen (/dev/fb0) using the pwrite64 syscall mov ecx,esp ; buffer ptr mov edx,ebp ; screen size xor esi,esi ; seek to beginning of screen xor edi,edi mov ebx,3 ; fd of framebuffer mov eax,0xb5 ; pwrite64 int 0x80 ; pwrite64 to framebuffer
As an alternative to using pwrite64 you can also mmap )check out intros by The Orz for an example with mmap) to map a piece of memory to dev/fb0. However using mmap because you can get tearing, and you can't realistically do feedback effects without implementing a second buffer, as reading from the mmaped memory is VERY slow.
;mmap(NULL, buflen, PROT_WRITE, MAP_SHARED, fd, 0); push edx ;edx = 0 push eax ;fd push byte 1 ;MAP_SHARED mov al, 90 push eax ;we need to set second bit for PROT_WRITE, 90 = 01011010 and setting PROT_WRITE automatically set PROT_READ push width*height*4 ;buffer size push edx ;NULL mov ebx, esp ;args pointer int 80h ;eax <- buffer pointer
So when we put all the above together, we can get a minimal kind of framework running that will look something like this munching square example provided to us by byteobserver:
; byte.observer's munching square linux example ; assembles with nasm -fbin munch.asm -o munch width equ 1024 height equ 768 bits 32 org $00010000 db $7F,"ELF" ; e_ident dd 1 ; p_type dd 0 ; p_offset dd $$ ; p_vaddr dw 2 ; e_type, p_paddr dw 3 ; e_machine dd entry ; e_version, p_filesz dd entry ; e_entry, p_memsz dd 4 ; e_phoff, p_flags fname: db "/dev/fb0",0 ; e_shoff, p_align, e_flags, e_ehsize entry: mov ebx,fname ; e_phentsize, e_phnum inc ecx ; = 1 = O_WRONLY mov al,5 ; 5 = open syscall int 0x80 ; open /dev/fb0 = 3 mov ebp,width*height*4 ; ebp = screen size sub esp,ebp ; make room on the stack for the video memory mainloop: mov ecx,ebp ; init pixel index shr ecx,2 ; divide by bits per pixel inc edi ; frame counter setpixels: mov ebx,width mov eax,ecx cdq div ebx ; edx = x-coord , eax=y coord xor eax,edx ; xor pattern add eax,edi ; make it munch mov [esp+ecx*4+0],al ; b mov [esp+ecx*4+1],al ; g mov [esp+ecx*4+2],al ; r mov [esp+ecx*4+3],al ; a loop setpixels ; dump the whole thing to the screen using pwrite64 syscall mov ecx,esp ; buffer ptr mov edx,ebp ; screen size push edi ; save frame counter xor esi,esi ; seek to beginning of screen xor edi,edi mov ebx,3 ; fd of framebuffer mov eax,0xb5 ; pwrite64 int 0x80 ; pwrite64 to framebuffer pop edi jmp mainloop
It is possible to output digital audio by binding the the aplay command into your intro. APLAY is available on most of the Linux distributions and can be tested by running:
$ aplay -c8 /dev/urandom
Make some noise
To be added soon.
- Pouet: 256byte productions on Linux
- Pouet: 128byte productions on Linux
-  A dev/fb0 framebuffer binding + ELF header for small C programs.
- A Whirlwind Tutorial on Creating Really Teensy ELF Executables for Linux
Larger productions (1k and 4k intros)
Creating 1k and 4k intros on linux usually requires a different setup, for more information on this check out the following links: