paul at bone.id.au
Thu Jul 24 19:22:48 AEST 2014
On Thu, Jul 24, 2014 at 10:07:10AM +0200, Zoltan Somogyi wrote:
> On Thu, 24 Jul 2014 12:17:30 +1000, Paul Bone <paul at bone.id.au> wrote:
> > What I don't know is when this says "from C" does it mean from foreign_proc
> > macros? And do I understand correctly that the concern is that the heap
> > pointer is saved in a register that may be clobbered by external C code, and
> > therefore I need to restore that pointer before allocating memory and save
> > it again after allocating the memory?
> The macros that have "transient" in their name are there to allow code to handle
> a mismatch between the register model used by the Mercury low level abstract
> machine (i.e. the registers are always there, and are modified only by explicit
> assignments to them), and the sliding register windows on SPARC (the set of
> visible registers changes with every call and return instruction, and therefore
> those instructions implicitly change the values stored in the windowed registers).
> The relevant criterion is not C code versus Mercury code, but code that can
> make ISA calls and code that cannot. In grade asm_fast, Mercury does not
> make ISA calls; it just does jumps. Foreign code that does not make calls
> is the same. Foreign code that does make calls, and parts of the runtime
> that make calls, do need to be protected against registers changing as if
> by magic. If I recall correctly, the protocol is to save any transient registers
> before the call or return (which copies them to the global variable or global
> array slot reserved for them), and restore them after the call/return. Restore
> is needed only before code that may use the relevant register. If Mercury
> calls f which calls g, and only g uses a register, then g needs to restore it,
> but f does not. If g can modify the register, then it needs to save it when it is
> done, and the Mercury code calling f must restore it on return from f.
> The relevant comment is this one in mercury_regs.h:
Is SPARC the only not-completely-dead architecture to use register windows?
> ** The MR_save_transient_registers() and MR_restore_transient_registers()
> ** macros are similar to MR_save_mhal_registers() and
> ** MR_restore_mhal_registers() except that they only save/restore registers
> ** which can be affected by calling or returning from a C function (e.g.
> ** by sliding register windows on SPARCs).
> Note that transient registers are a fruitful source of obscure and hard-to-
> track-down bugs on SPARCs. Code that does not use them properly (or at
> all) often works just fine on every ISA except SPARC, and there is no practical
> way to track down or even detect such bugs without a SPARC machine.
> Since SPARC is a dying architecture, it makes me wonder whether anyone
> is still using Mercury on SPARC. If not, we should probably stop supporting it.
Didn't someone contact us a few years ago about Mercury on something like a
SPARC? Or was it just SunOS or Solaris that they wanted support with?
We can always support things like this via some other backend, like hlc.gc,
although there are some missing features.
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