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Date: Thu, 16 Apr 2020 14:50:18 -0300
From: Adhemerval Zanella <>
To: Rich Felker <>
Cc: Nicholas Piggin <>,,,,
Subject: Re: Powerpc Linux 'scv' system call ABI proposal take 2

On 16/04/2020 12:37, Rich Felker wrote:
> On Thu, Apr 16, 2020 at 11:16:04AM -0300, Adhemerval Zanella wrote:
>>> My preference would be that it work just like the i386 AT_SYSINFO
>>> where you just replace "int $128" with "call *%%gs:16" and the kernel
>>> provides a stub in the vdso that performs either scv or the old
>>> mechanism with the same calling convention. Then if the kernel doesn't
>>> provide it (because the kernel is too old) libc would have to provide
>>> its own stub that uses the legacy method and matches the calling
>>> convention of the one the kernel is expected to provide.
>> What about pthread cancellation and the requirement of checking the
>> cancellable syscall anchors in asynchronous cancellation? My plan is
>> still to use musl strategy on glibc (BZ#12683) and for i686 it 
>> requires to always use old int$128 for program that uses cancellation
>> (static case) or just threads (dynamic mode, which should be more
>> common on glibc).
>> Using the i686 strategy of a vDSO bridge symbol would require to always
>> fallback to 'sc' to still use the same cancellation strategy (and
>> thus defeating this optimization in such cases).
> Yes, I assumed it would be the same, ignoring the new syscall
> mechanism for cancellable syscalls. While there are some exceptions,
> cancellable syscalls are generally not hot paths but things that are
> expected to block and to have significant amounts of work to do in
> kernelspace, so saving a few tens of cycles is rather pointless.
> It's possible to do a branch/multiple versions of the syscall asm for
> cancellation but would require extending the cancellation handler to
> support checking against multiple independent address ranges or using
> some alternate markup of them.

The main issue is at least for glibc dynamic linking is way more common
than static linking and once the program become multithread the fallback
will be always used.

And besides the cancellation performance issue, a new bridge vDSO mechanism
will still require to setup some extra bridge for the case of the older
kernel.  In the scheme you suggested:

  __asm__("indirect call" ... with common clobbers);

The indirect call will be either the vDSO bridge or an libc provided that
fallback to 'sc' for !PPC_FEATURE2_SCV. I am not this is really a gain

   if (hwcap & PPC_FEATURE2_SCV) {
     __asm__(... with some clobbers);
   } else {
     __asm__(... with different clobbers);

Specially if 'hwcap & PPC_FEATURE2_SCV' could be optimized with a 
TCB member (as we do on glibc) and if we could make the asm clever
enough to not require different clobbers (although not sure if
it would be possible).

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