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Date: Wed, 22 Jan 2020 23:18:12 -0500
From: Rich Felker <>
Subject: Re: arm __a_barrier_v6 register value should be zero?

On Wed, Jan 22, 2020 at 05:30:53PM -0800, Andre McCurdy wrote:
> The arm1176jzfs documentation describing the armv6 CP15 Data Memory
> Barrier operation seems to specify the register value written to the
> coprocessor as "SBZ" ie Should Be Zero. See page 216 of:
> However the __a_barrier_v6() function which implements this in musl
> uses r0 as the register written to the coprocessor and doesn't
> initialise it. Should __a_barrier_v6() set r0 to 0 before issuing the
> mcr instruction? Or is it defined somewhere that this register value
> doesn't matter?

__a_barrier_* have a contract not to clobber r0 -- see the calling
code in arch/arm/atomic_arch.h:

static inline void a_barrier()
	register uintptr_t ip __asm__("ip") = __a_barrier_ptr;
	__asm__ __volatile__( BLX " ip" : "+r"(ip) : : "memory", "cc", "lr" );

We could probably switch to using ip as the register if needed.
However looking at Linux kernel source, no effort is made to zero the
register used (see arch/arm/include/asm/assembler.h for the definition
of the smp_dmb macro) so I think it must not actually matter...

Nice find, though. Let's see if we can get a better authoritative
answer on it.


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