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Re: trap handler for unaligned memory read/write

To: Jun Sun <>
Subject: Re: trap handler for unaligned memory read/write
From: Ralf Baechle <>
Date: Sat, 16 Sep 2000 01:28:54 +0200
In-reply-to: <>; from on Fri, Sep 15, 2000 at 02:09:44PM -0700
References: <>
On Fri, Sep 15, 2000 at 02:09:44PM -0700, Jun Sun wrote:

> I was trying to run some PCI ether drivers and always got bus error, at
> least when I use ipconfig bootp code.
> However, the problem seems to be generic.
> Ethernet device writes a whole packet in the memory.  Driver and network
> stack code often directly dereference a pointer in to the packet. 
> However, the ether header is 14 byte long.  If you align packet from the
> beginning, then IP header will be off-aligned.
> Any suggestions?

The strategy is to get the alignment right for the IP header, that is
to make the received packet start on a address with bit 1 set.

> If this is a valid problem, I think the long term solution should be in
> network code, which should not assume they can dereference on an
> unaligned address.

It tries to avoid unaligned accesses - if necessary even at the price of
wasting some memory.

> For short-term solutions, we can have trap handler that supports the
> unaligned read/write.  Does anybody know if there is such a trap handler
> for MIPS?

It's right there in your kernel ...

You _really_ _really_ want to avoid relying on the unaligned trap handler.
Performancewise that's equivalent to a swapping on a floppy disk on the
Mars over NFS via avian carriers ...

However unaligned accesses will result in an address error exception not
bus error therefore I suspect you've got another problem.


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