The linker uses "lazy evaluation" for expressions; it only calculates an expression when absolutely necessary. The linker needs the value of the start address, and the lengths of memory regions, in order to do any linking at all; these values are computed as soon as possible when the linker reads in the command file. However, other values (such as symbol values) are not known or needed until after storage allocation. Such values are evaluated later, when other information (such as the sizes of output sections) is available for use in the symbol assignment expression.
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