LLVM/Clang Gains x32 psABI Support
Written by Michael Larabel in Compiler on 6 June 2012 at 06:21 AM EDT. 2 Comments
Compiler
As the latest Linux x32 progress to try to combine the best of 32-bit and 64-bit software, the x32 psABI is now supported by LLVM.

There's the mailing list post with the adding of x32 support to LLVM and the C/C++ Clang compiler. "The patch to LLVM adds X32 psABI support and introduce a new 'X32' environment for x86-64 target to tell X32 psABI from LP64 psABI (i.e. the original x86-64 ABI). The patch to clang adds '-mx32' option to generate x32 binaries as well as support calling convention changes due to pointer size reduction."

For those who have forgotten about x32, "This new osABI, X32 psABI, allows programs to run in the 64-bit mode but only using 32-bit pointers. Though, programs will be limited to 4GB virtual address space (not all application requires more than 4GB), X32 psABI helps reduce memory footprint and file size and allow them run faster."

In terms of performance figures for x32 LLVM/Clang, as sent by Michael Liao, "X32 psABI could boost ~10% performance from legacy 32-bit and has roughly the same performance from 64-bit app. It also reduces file size by +5% from the original x86-64 psABI and has roughly the same file size from legacy 32-bit app. Several workloads do have much better performance due to the reduction of memory footprint, e.g. 181.mcf in CINT2000, up to 100+% and 429.mcf in CINT2006, up to 30+%)."

It was with the Linux 3.4 kernel that x32 ABI support landed while the necessary changes to binutils, glibc, and GCC have already landed / merged to master. Ubuntu is one of the distributions planning for a Linux x32 flavor.

More information on Linux x32 is available from the Google Site.
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Michael Larabel is the principal author of Phoronix.com and founded the web-site in 2004 with a focus on enriching the Linux hardware experience and being the largest web-site devoted to Linux hardware reviews, particularly for products relevant to Linux gamers and enthusiasts but also commonly reviewing servers/workstations and embedded Linux devices. Michael has written more than 10,000 articles covering the state of Linux hardware support, Linux performance, graphics hardware drivers, and other topics. Michael is also the lead developer of the Phoronix Test Suite, Phoromatic, and OpenBenchmarking.org automated testing software. He can be followed via Twitter or contacted via MichaelLarabel.com.

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