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Date: Tue, 19 Feb 2019 15:34:52 -0800
From: Nick Bray <>
Subject: Stdio resource usage

Other that compiler warnings, the main pain point I ran into porting a
subset of Musl into a resource constrained environment was the resource
usage of stdio.  I don't expect any of these modifications to make it
upstream.  Talking out loud as a FYI / user feedback.  Also curious to see
if there's any wisdom out there.

Stack usage of stdio was an issue.  On arm64, printf takes 8k of stack
which is a rough when you only have 4-12k of stack.  This is because fmt_fp
allocates stack space proportional O(log(MAX_LONG_DOUBLE)).  It also gets
inlined into printf so you always take the hit.  (noinline fmt_fp is a
Faustian bargain that makes stack usage worse in the worst case... hmmm.)
On arm64, long double is defined as 128 bits, which not only increases
stack size because of the larger mantisa, but also pulls in software
emulation for fp128.  In terms of spec compliance, Musl is doing the right
thing.  But as a practical matter, none of the programs I care about will
ever use long double.  So my rough first pass was to reduce the max float
size from long double to double.  In a later pass, I'll also add a knob to
remove floating point formatting entirely.

%m calls strerror which pulls in a string table, so removing support for %m
lets static linking and DCE work its magic.  I also eliminated %n for
security hardening reasons.

The "states" structure is sparse and takes a little more memory than I'd
like -  464b of rodata.  I don't see any workarounds without deeper
changes, so for now I am living with it.

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