Some of the design decisions apparent above are arguable.
GDB should be able to query the target to discover its stack size. Given that information, GDB can determine at translation time whether a given expression will overflow the stack. But this spec isn’t about what kinds of error-checking GDB ought to do.
Speed isn’t important, but agent code size is; using LONGEST brings in a bunch of support code to do things like division, etc. So this is a serious concern.
First, note that you don’t need different bytecodes for different operand sizes. You can generate code without knowing how big the stack elements actually are on the target. If the target only supports 32-bit ints, and you don’t send any 64-bit bytecodes, everything just works. The observation here is that the MIPS and the Alpha have only fixed-size registers, and you can still get C’s semantics even though most instructions only operate on full-sized words. You just need to make sure everything is properly sign-extended at the right times. So there is no need for 32- and 64-bit variants of the bytecodes. Just implement everything using the largest size you support.
GDB should certainly check to see what sizes the target supports, so the user can get an error earlier, rather than later. But this information is not necessary for correctness.
I want to keep the interpreter small, and we don’t need them. We can
less_ opcodes with
log_not, and swap the order
of the operands, yielding all four asymmetrical comparison operators.
(x <= y) is
! (x > y), which is
! (y <
These are all easily synthesized from other instructions, but I expect them to be used frequently, and they’re simple, so I include them to keep bytecode strings short.
log_not is equivalent to
const8 0 equal; it’s used in half
the relational operators.
ext n is equivalent to
const8 s-n lsh const8
s-n rsh_signed, where s is the size of the stack elements;
refm and reg bytecodes when the value
should be signed. See the next bulleted item.
zero_ext n is equivalent to
log_and; it’s used whenever we push the value of a register, because we
can’t assume the upper bits of the register aren’t garbage.
Because that would double the number of
ref operators, and we
ext bytecode anyway for accessing bitfields.
Because that would double the number of
ref operators again, and
const32 address ref32 is only one byte longer.
refnoperators have to support unaligned fetches?
GDB will generate bytecode that fetches multi-byte values at unaligned addresses whenever the executable’s debugging information tells it to. Furthermore, GDB does not know the value the pointer will have when GDB generates the bytecode, so it cannot determine whether a particular fetch will be aligned or not.
In particular, structure bitfields may be several bytes long, but follow no alignment rules; members of packed structures are not necessarily aligned either.
In general, there are many cases where unaligned references occur in correct C code, either at the programmer’s explicit request, or at the compiler’s discretion. Thus, it is simpler to make the GDB agent bytecodes work correctly in all circumstances than to make GDB guess in each case whether the compiler did the usual thing.
Because our current client doesn’t want them? That’s a cheap answer. I think the real answer is that I’m afraid of implementing function calls. We should re-visit this issue after the present contract is delivered.
The interpreter has the base address around anyway for PC bounds checking, and it seemed simpler.
Offsets are currently sixteen bits. I’m not happy with this situation either:
Suppose we have multiple branch ops with different offset sizes. As I generate code left-to-right, all my jumps are forward jumps (there are no loops in expressions), so I never know the target when I emit the jump opcode. Thus, I have to either always assume the largest offset size, or do jump relaxation on the code after I generate it, which seems like a big waste of time.
I can imagine a reasonable expression being longer than 256 bytes. I can’t imagine one being longer than 64k. Thus, we need 16-bit offsets. This kind of reasoning is so bogus, but relaxation is pathetic.
The other approach would be to generate code right-to-left. Then I’d always know my offset size. That might be fun.
When we add side-effects, we should add this.
regbytecode take a 16-bit register number?
Intel’s IA-64 architecture has 128 general-purpose registers, and 128 floating-point registers, and I’m sure it has some random control registers.
Because GDB needs to record all the memory contents and registers an
expression touches. If the user wants to evaluate an expression
x->y->z, the agent must record the values of
x->y as well as the value of
tracebytecodes make the interpreter less general?
They do mean that the interpreter contains special-purpose code, but
that doesn’t mean the interpreter can only be used for that purpose. If
an expression doesn’t use the
trace bytecodes, they don’t get in
trace_quickconsume its arguments the way everything else does?
In general, you do want your operators to consume their arguments; it’s
consistent, and generally reduces the amount of stack rearrangement
trace_quick is a kludge to save space; it
only exists so we needn’t write
dup const8 SIZE trace
before every memory reference. Therefore, it’s okay for it not to
consume its arguments; it’s meant for a specific context in which we
know exactly what it should do with the stack. If we’re going to have a
kludge, it should be an effective kludge.
That opcode was added by the customer that contracted Cygnus for the
data tracing work. I personally think it is unnecessary; objects that
large will be quite rare, so it is okay to use
size trace in those cases.
Whatever we decide to do with
trace16, we should at least leave
opcode 0x30 reserved, to remain compatible with the customer who added