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Re: [PATCH 1/2] MIPS: Preliminary vdso.

To: "Kevin D. Kissell" <>
Subject: Re: [PATCH 1/2] MIPS: Preliminary vdso.
From: David Daney <>
Date: Mon, 27 Apr 2009 08:54:46 -0700
Cc: Brian Foster <>,
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Kevin D. Kissell wrote:

Well, he's *almost* right about that. The delay slot emulation function executes a single instruction off the user stack/vdso slot, which is followed in memory by an instruction that provokes an address exception. The address exception handler detects the special case (and it should be noted that detecting the special case could be made simpler and more reliable if a vdso-type region were used),

Ralf recently changed this to a 'break' instruction, but the logic remains the same.

cleans up, and restores normal stack behavior. That "clean up" could, of course, include any necessary vdso slot management. But what about cases that won't get to the magic alignment trap?

As the instruction being executed is extracted from a branch delay slot, we know it's not legal for it to be any sort of branch or jump instruction.

These we would detect and since the behavior is 'UNPREDICTABLE' we can treat them as a nop and remain within the specified behavior.

But it *could* be a trap or system call instruction, or a load/store that would provoke a TLB exception. In the usual cases, however, as I believe David was alluding, either the exception will ultimately unwind to return to execute the magic alignment trap, or the thread will exit, and could free the emulation slot as part of general cleanup.

But there's a case that isn't handled in this model, and that's the case of an exception (or interrupt that falls in the 2-instruction window) resulting in a signal that is caught and dispatched, and where either the signal handler does a longjmp and restarts FP computation, or where the signal handler itself contains a FP branch with yet another delay slot to be emulated. One *could* get alarm signal before the original delay slot instruction is executed, so recycling the same vdso cache line would be premature. It's hard to get away from something distinctly stack-like if one wants to cover these cases.

System calls we don't have to handle, they will eventually return to the break instruction following the delay slot instruction and be handled by the normal processing.

I am thinking that all other exceptions will result in one of three cases:

1) They will work like system calls and return to the 'break'.

2) The thread will exit.

3) They result in a signal being sent to the thread. We can handle it in force_signal(). In this case we would adjust the eip to point at the original location of the instruction and clean things up. If the signal handler tries to restart the instruction, the FP emulator will re-run the emulation.

My short-term suggestion would be to leave FP emulator delay slot handling on the (executable) user stack, even if signal trampolines use the vdso.

They are really two seperate (but related) problems. If we want eXecute-Inhibit for the stack we need to solve it.

Longer term, we might consider what sorts of crockery would be necessary to deal with delay slot abandonment and recursion. That might mean adding cruft to the signal dispatch logic to detect that we're in mid-delay-slot-emulation and defer the signal until after the alignment trap cleanup is done (adds annoying run-time overhead, but is probably the smallest increase in footprint and complexity), or it might mean changing the delay slot emulation paradigm completely and bolting a full instruction set emulator into the FP emulator, so that the delay slot instruction is simulated in kernel mode, rather than requiring execution in user mode. I rejected that idea out-of-hand when I first did the FP emulator integration with the kernel, years ago, but maybe the constraints have changed...

I think full instruction set emulation is not so easy. How would you emulate COP2 instructions?

David Daney

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