String table sections hold null-terminated character sequences,
commonly called strings.
The object file uses these strings to represent symbol and section names.
One references a string as an index into the
string table section.
The first byte, which is index zero, is defined to hold
a null character.
Likewise, a string table's last byte is defined to hold
a null character, ensuring null termination for all strings.
A string whose index is zero specifies
either no name or a null name, depending on the context.
An empty string table section is permitted; its section header's
member would contain zero.
Non-zero indexes are invalid for an empty string table.
A section header's sh_name member holds an index into the section header string table section, as designated by the e_shstrndx member of the ELF header. The following figures show a string table with 25 bytes and the strings associated with various indexes.
String table indexes
As the example shows, a string table index may refer to any byte in the section. A string may appear more than once; references to substrings may exist; and a single string may be referenced multiple times. Unreferenced strings also are allowed.