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Date: Fri, 11 Mar 2016 14:04:35 +0100
From: Szabolcs Nagy <>
Subject: Re: long double on powerpc64

* Justin Cormack <> [2016-03-11 11:19:22 +0000]:
> On 11 March 2016 at 04:17, Rich Felker <> wrote:
> > On Thu, Mar 10, 2016 at 09:16:36PM -0600, Bobby Bingham wrote:
> >> I've been working on a PPC64 port of musl lately.  I've made some good
> >> progress, and it's time to decide what to do about the long double type.
> >>
> >> The PPC64 ELFv2 ABI [1] calls for a 128 bit long double.  It allows an
> >> implementation to choose to use either IEEE quad, or IBM double double,
> >> with IEEE quad being preferred.
> >>
> >> On the compiler side, it looks like things are a bit of a mess.
> >>
> >> Clang only supports IBM double double on PPC64, AFAICS, and therefore
> >> won't work for us currently.
> >>
> >> GCC support is more complicated.  It supports both 128 bit variants, as
> >> well as supporting (and defaulting to) a 64 bit long double.  To get a
> >> 128 bit long double, you must build gcc with --with-long-double-128 or
> >> pass -mlong-double-128, and even then you get IBM double double.  To get
> >> IEEE quad, you must additionally pass -mlong-double-128, though there
> >> are whispers that the default may change in gcc 7 [2].
> >>
> >> The final piece of bad news is that gcc can't successfully build musl on
> >> PPC64 with IEEE quad long double.  It chokes on even trivial code using
> >> long double complex [3].  So only 64 bit long double is usable for now.
> >>
> >> The good news is that gcc's predefined macros are sufficient to detect
> >> which long double variant is in use.  My current thinking is that we can
> >> support both 64 bit long and IEEE quad as two powerpc64 subarchs, even
> >> if we can only implement 64 bit for now.  Because it looks like the
> >> future direction is for IEEE quad to become the default, I think that
> >> should be the suffix-less subarch, and the 64 bit long double subarch
> >> should have a -ld64 suffix or similar.
> >
> > My leaning would be to just go with ld64 if nobody has their act
> > together for quad support, but let's see what people who want to use
> > powerpc64 think about it. The only option that's not on the table is
> > IBM double-double (because it's incompatible with musl's assumption of
> > IEEE semantics; math-savvy people in the musl community already know
> > this of course but I'm repeating it for the sake of possible
> > newcomers).
> I think it would be a mistake to only support ld64, I think Bobby's approach
> of two architectures is probably better, and maybe look to retire ld64
> eventually.

if long double is 64bit then the 128bit hw floats cannot be used
with musl, because we don't want library support for __float128.

note that the glibc position is that for __float128 support the
minimum required gcc version has to change to gcc-7 because it is
abi and libc needs complex support (which will not be in gcc-6 yet).

the problem with -ld64 suffix is that gcc-6 already has hardcoded
dynamic linker names (i don't think we can change that now, before
the gcc-6 release).

so i'd leave the dynlinker name as is, use 64bit ld for now and
rediscuss the issue when ieee128 long double works in gcc-7

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