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Re: first packages for mipsel

To: "Kevin D. Kissell" <>
Subject: Re: first packages for mipsel
From: "Maciej W. Rozycki" <>
Date: Sat, 7 Apr 2001 12:55:24 +0200 (MET DST)
Cc: Florian Lohoff <>,,
In-reply-to: <004f01c0bf41$fe823720$0deca8c0@Ulysses>
Organization: Technical University of Gdansk
On Sat, 7 Apr 2001, Kevin D. Kissell wrote:

> >  It was discussed a few times already.  It's ugly and is an overkill for
> > UP machines -- you take at least two faults for ll/sc emulation and only a
> > single syscall for TAS.
> Depends on your point of view.  Syscalls will be faster than
> emulation on processors without LL/SC support, certainly,
> but much slower than just executing the instructions on processors
> that do support LL/SC.  Intuitively, emulation would be roughly
> 2x worse for an R3K, but a syscall will be 10-100 times worse
> for an R4K.  If we gave an equal weight to both families, that
> would argue in favor of LL/SC emulation - and working for
> MIPS Technologies (where all our designs for the past
> 10 years have supported LL/SC) I would consider equal
> weighting to be very generous!  ;-)

 You are right, of course.  That's why glibc contains two versions of
_test_and_set() code.  If compiled for MIPS I, glibc uses a syscall
(currently sysmips()), while for MIPS II and higher it uses inline
assembly code which makes use of LL/SC.

 That's exactly the way glibc does CPU-model-specific code for other

> I've seen the hybrid proposal of having libc determine the LL/SC
> capability of the processor and either executing the instructions
> or doing the syscall as appropriate. While that would allow
> near-optimal performance on all systems, I find it troublesome,
> both on the principle that the OS should conceal hardware
> implementation details from the user, and on the practical basis
> that glibc is the last place I would want to put more CPU-specific
> cruft.  But reasonable people can disagree.

 I don't like run-time detection either.  The compile-time choice is
sufficient enough.  The _test_and_set() library function already hides
implementation details from the user.

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

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