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Re: NON FPU cpus - way to go

To: "Kevin D. Kissell" <>
Subject: Re: NON FPU cpus - way to go
From: "Maciej W. Rozycki" <>
Date: Thu, 8 Feb 2001 11:54:56 +0100 (MET)
Cc: Jun Sun <>, Florian Lohoff <>,,
In-reply-to: <005101c09158$85941d40$0deca8c0@Ulysses>
Organization: Technical University of Gdansk
On Wed, 7 Feb 2001, Kevin D. Kissell wrote:

> Moving forward,  MIPS CPUs will have a specific FPU-present bit
> in one of the CP0 Config registers, as specified by MIPS32/MIPS64.

 Thanks for pointing this out -- this might prove useful.  Though the old
IDT detection method is not any more complicated and it's universal.  It
should work for MIPS32/MIPS64 anyway, right? 

> As other people have observed, having the FPU emulator in
> the kernel is necessary for full IEEE math even if one *has*
> an FPU.  When I bolted the Algorithmics emulator into the 2.2
> kernel at MIPS, I made it optional so that people could regress
> to Ralf's old not-fully-compliant mini-emulator if they were really
> desperate for memory and didn't need full IEEE.  Maybe I
> should have just nuked it and made the full emulator mandatory.

 How much of the emulator is really required for every system?  Can we
assume R[23]010 functionality if there is FP hw present?

> As far as the library-versus-kernel-emulation debate is
> concerned, yes, user-level emulation will always be faster.

 Why would be faster?  You need to handle SIGFPE, which needs a
user->kernel->user transition anyway.  I think a kernel emulation might be
marginally faster as we may skip signal interface handling (and such
details like an integer overflow/division by zero) and handle exceptions

> However, you end up with a rather unpleasant configration
> management problem - every application and library
> distributed needs to be built both with and without FP.

 Nope -- you just require an emulator in glibc (or whatever libc you
decide to use).  No need to change application software -- FP opcodes will
just trap into libc.


+  Maciej W. Rozycki, Technical University of Gdansk, Poland   +
+        e-mail:, PGP key available        +

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