4.7. MEMORY Command

The linker's default configuration permits allocation of all available memory. You can override this by using the MEMORY command.

The MEMORY command describes the location and size of blocks of memory in the target. You can use it to describe which memory regions may be used by the linker, and which memory regions it must avoid. You can then assign sections to particular memory regions. The linker will set section addresses based on the memory regions, and will warn about regions that become too full. The linker will not shuffle sections around to fit into the available regions.

A linker script may contain at most one use of the MEMORY command. However, you can define as many blocks of memory within it as you wish. The syntax is:

    name [(attr)] : ORIGIN = origin, LENGTH = len

The name is a name used in the linker script to refer to the region. The region name has no meaning outside of the linker script. Region names are stored in a separate name space, and will not conflict with symbol names, file names, or section names. Each memory region must have a distinct name.

The attr string is an optional list of attributes that specify whether to use a particular memory region for an input section which is not explicitly mapped in the linker script. As described in Section 4.6 SECTIONS Command, if you do not specify an output section for some input section, the linker will create an output section with the same name as the input section. If you define region attributes, the linker will use them to select the memory region for the output section that it creates.

The attr string must consist only of the following characters:


Read-only section


Read/write section


Executable section


Allocatable section


Initialized section


Same as I


Invert the sense of any of the preceding attributes

If a unmapped section matches any of the listed attributes other than !, it will be placed in the memory region. The ! attribute reverses this test, so that an unmapped section will be placed in the memory region only if it does not match any of the listed attributes.

The origin is an expression for the start address of the memory region. The expression must evaluate to a constant before memory allocation is performed, which means that you may not use any section relative symbols. The keyword ORIGIN may be abbreviated to org or o (but not, for example, ORG).

The len is an expression for the size in bytes of the memory region. As with the origin expression, the expression must evaluate to a constant before memory allocation is performed. The keyword LENGTH may be abbreviated to len or l.

In the following example, we specify that there are two memory regions available for allocation: one starting at 0 for 256 kilobytes, and the other starting at 0x40000000 for four megabytes. The linker will place into the rom memory region every section which is not explicitly mapped into a memory region, and is either read-only or executable. The linker will place other sections which are not explicitly mapped into a memory region into the ram memory region.

    rom (rx)  : ORIGIN = 0, LENGTH = 256K
    ram (!rx) : org = 0x40000000, l = 4M

Once you define a memory region, you can direct the linker to place specific output sections into that memory region by using the >region output section attribute. For example, if you have a memory region named mem, you would use >mem in the output section definition. Refer to Section Output Section Region. If no address was specified for the output section, the linker will set the address to the next available address within the memory region. If the combined output sections directed to a memory region are too large for the region, the linker will issue an error message.