emacs and large-address awareness under recent snapshots

Ken Brown kbrown@cornell.edu
Mon Aug 8 20:17:00 GMT 2011

On 8/8/2011 2:20 PM, Achim Gratz wrote:
> Corinna Vinschen<...>  writes:
>> still tries to workaround some old problem in the Cygwin sbrk
>> implementation in Cygwin 1.5.  Unfortunately the comment doesn't contain
>> any hint as to what exact problem this code is trying to workaround.
> Apologies if that's obvious and you've already checked that: emacs gets
> created as a dumpfile of temacs during build, so if peflags moves the
> heap retroactively thereafter I can't see how it's going to work since
> part of the heap is where it was during dumping and the rest is, well,
> somewhere else.  I'd look at the build process first before suspecting
> the sources — I would assume that temacs must also be made large address
> aware and that it right now just isn't.  There may still be workarounds
> that aren't needed anymore and bad assumptions about how the memory map
> looks like in Cygwin.

Thanks for the suggestion, but that doesn't seem to be the issue.  I 
just tried building emacs with LDFLAGS=-Wl,large-address-aware.  That 
should have made temacs and the dumpfile large address aware.  The 
result was that the build didn't finish.  bootstrap-emacs.exe compiled a 
bunch of .el files and then started spinning its wheels, just as in my 
report earlier in this thread.  Attaching gdb and getting a backtrace, I 
again found that emacs was stuck in morecore_nolock, called from 

Corinna, here's some explanation of the above (and of unexec, which you 
were wondering about.)  The build process for emacs first compiles the C 
source files into an executable temacs.exe, which has no editing 
commands.  It then runs temacs.exe, which loads some lisp files to set 
up the editing environment and then dumps itself as emacs.exe.  The 
dumping is done by unexec, which is defined in unexcw.c.  I think that 
the data in the static heap (from sheap.c) is part of what gets dumped, 
so emacs defines a special version of sbrk (called bss_sbrk) that 
simulates sbrk but uses the static heap instead of the ordinary 
application heap.

I don't think emacs is trying to work around problems in Cygwin's sbrk. 
  In fact, emacs.exe, as opposed to temacs.exe, does use Cygwin's sbrk. 
  You can see this in the function __default_morecore in gmalloc.c, 
which calls bss_sbrk if emacs.exe hasn't yet been dumped (i.e., if 
temacs.exe is running) and Cygwin's sbrk otherwise.

I hope this all makes sense and is correct.  It may or may not be 
relevant to figuring out what goes wrong when the ordinary heap starts 
at 0x80000000.


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