PatchELF: a simple utility for modifying existing ELF executables and libraries

PatchELF is a simple utility for modifying existing ELF executables and libraries. In particular, it can do the following:

  • Change the dynamic loader (“ELF interpreter”) of executables:
    $ patchelf --set-interpreter /lib/my-ld-linux.so.2 my-program
  • Change the RPATH of executables and libraries:
    $ patchelf --set-rpath /opt/my-libs/lib:/other-libs my-program
  • Shrink the RPATH of executables and libraries:
    $ patchelf --shrink-rpath my-program

    This removes from the RPATH all directories that do not contain a library referenced by DT_NEEDED fields of the executable or library. For instance, if an executable references one library libfoo.so, has an RPATH /lib:/usr/lib:/foo/lib, and libfoo.so can only be found in /foo/lib, then the new RPATH will be /foo/lib.

    In addition, the --allowed-rpath-prefixes option can be used for further rpath tuning. For instance, if an executable has an RPATH /tmp/build-foo/.libs:/foo/lib, it is probably desirable to keep the /foo/lib reference instead of the /tmp entry. To accomplish that, use:

    $ patchelf --shrink-rpath --allowed-rpath-prefixes /usr/lib:/foo/lib my-program
  • Remove declared dependencies on dynamic libraries (DT_NEEDED entries):
    $ patchelf --remove-needed libfoo.so.1 my-program

    This option can be given multiple times.

  • Add a declared dependency on a dynamic library (DT_NEEDED):
    $ patchelf --add-needed libfoo.so.1 my-program

    This option can be give multiple times.

  • Replace a declared dependency on a dynamic library with another one (DT_NEEDED):
    $ patchelf --replace-needed liboriginal.so.1 libreplacement.so.1 my-program

    This option can be give multiple times.

  • Change SONAME of a dynamic library

    $ patchelf –set-soname libnewname.so.3.4.5 path/to/libmylibrary.so.1.2.3

See the GitHub repo here.


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