Differences between vmlinux and zImage

  • More details can be found here.

vmlinuz v.s zImage

“When you want to debug the kernel you need a little understanding of how the kernel is composed. Most important is the difference between your vmlinux and the zImage. What you need to understand at this point is that the zImage is a container. This container gets loaded by a boot loader and that execution is handed over to the zImage. This zImage unpacks the kernel to the same memory location and starts executing the kernel. (explain that vmlinux does not have to be the real kernel as it is possible to debug a “stripped” kernel using a non stripped vmlinux). overall if we look at a compiled kernel we will see that vmlinux is located at the root of the kernel tree whiles the zImage is located under arch/arm/boot

vmlinux
arch/arm/boot
`-- zImage

vmlinux is what we will be using during debugging of the Linux kernel.”

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