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Re: SiByte 1480 & Branch Likely instructions?

To: "Maciej W. Rozycki" <>
Subject: Re: SiByte 1480 & Branch Likely instructions?
From: Ralf Baechle <>
Date: Mon, 10 Dec 2007 15:35:23 +0000
Cc: Kaz Kylheku <>,
In-reply-to: <>
Original-recipient: rfc822;
References: <DDFD17CC94A9BD49A82147DDF7D545C5590CF0@exchange.ZeugmaSystems.local> <> <>
User-agent: Mutt/1.5.17 (2007-11-01)
On Mon, Dec 10, 2007 at 03:28:52PM +0000, Maciej W. Rozycki wrote:

> > > Not really a kernel-related question. I've discovered that GCC 4.1.1
> > > (which I'm not using for kernel compiling, but user space) generates
> > > branch likely instructions by default, even though the documentation
> > > says that their use is off by default for MIPS32 and MIPS64, because
> > > they are considered deprecated. They are documented as obsolete for the
> > > Broadcom chips I am working with.
> > 
> > Microarchitecture guys love to hate branch likely.  But the deprecation is
> > a dream.  Binary compatibility will always require those instructions to
> > continue to exist so the genie is out of the bottle and so I feel very
> > certain to predict that a future MIPS 3 specification will contain branch
> > likely.
>  We have been there before -- binary compatibility does not preclude 
> emulation.  And I do not mean keeping the MIPS I toys (as they might be 
> seen these days) running, but serious products deployed commercially, like 
> newer VAX implementations that kept full binary compatibility with their 
> predecessors in the area of the some of the more arcane instructions only 
> by means of emulating them in the OS.

It would devastate the performance of some binaries.

As an intellectual challenge, how far can you strip down a MIPS
implementation and emulate removed instructions in the kernel ;-)


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