1. Computers
  2. Display Drivers
  3. Graphics Cards
  4. Memory
  5. Motherboards
  6. Processors
  7. Software
  8. Storage
  9. Operating Systems


Facebook RSS Twitter Twitter Google Plus


Phoronix Test Suite

OpenBenchmarking.org

Is Assembly Still Relevant To Most Linux Software?

Compiler

Published on 02 April 2013 05:39 AM EDT
Written by Michael Larabel in Compiler
176 Comments

Steve McIntyre and the Linaro Enterprise Group recently analyzed Ubuntu and Fedora software packages to see what software was still relying upon hand-written Assembly code. This was done to see how much real Assembly is being used, to see what the code was used for, and whether it was worth porting to 64-bit ARM / AArch64 / ARMv8.

Their findings found that most software doesn't need porting for 64-bit ARM but that "most software in the typical Linux distribution does not contain any assembly." For Ubuntu 13.04, only about 6% of the packages contained any Assembly code.

With packages found containing Assembly, a lot was found to already support ARMv7 and ARMv8 capabilities while some could be better-tuned to take advantage of ARM architectural features.

It was also determined that most of the Assembly code has little value. Packages still using Assembly were doing for either low-level purposes with hardware control or for performance reasons (e.g. SIMD for multimedia). Small amounts of the Assembly being used was for handling atomics, embedded library code, or controlling symbol access.

Among the Linux software packages with Assembly code that will see some love from the Linaro Enterprise Group includes the Linux kernel, GCC, glibc, gdb, binutils, LLVM, OpenJDK, and GMP. Some other important but less critical packages include GRUB2, PHP, PostgreSQL, libaio, zlib, and libjpeg.

For those wanting to see the lengthy Linaro Enterprise Group report on Assembly use in full, it can be viewed via the Linaro Wiki.

About The Author
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 and or contacted via .
Latest Linux Hardware Reviews
  1. Even With Re-Clocking, Nouveau Remains Behind NVIDIA's Proprietary Linux Driver
  2. The Power Consumption & Efficiency Of Open-Source GPU Drivers
  3. AMD R600g/RadeonSI Performance On Linux 3.16 With Mesa 10.3-devel
  4. Intel Pentium G3258 On Linux
Latest Linux Articles
  1. AMD Catalyst 14.6 Does Slightly Better With APITest OpenGL Tests
  2. Updated Source Engine Benchmarks On The Latest AMD/NVIDIA Linux Drivers
  3. Nouveau vs. Radeon vs. Intel Tests On Linux 3.16, Mesa 10.3-devel
  4. KVM Benchmarks On Ubuntu 14.10
Latest Linux News
  1. Belkin's WRT54G Router Successor Is Crap On The Software Front So Far
  2. QEMU 2.1 Officially Released
  3. XBMC Is Being Renamed To "Kodi"
  4. SteamOS Beta 126 Better Handles XBMC
  5. Ubuntu 14.10 Alpha 2 Released
  6. KDE 4.14 Release Candidate Ships
  7. Drivers & Drama Dominated Linux Talk In July
  8. Fedora Assembles A Security Team
  9. AMD Launches The A10-7800, The 65 Watt Kaveri
  10. Builder: A New Development IDE Being Built For GNOME
Latest Forum Discussions
  1. AMD Launches The A10-7800, The 65 Watt Kaveri
  2. Grand Theft Auto Running On Direct3D Natively On Linux Shows Gallium3D Potential
  3. Updated and Optimized Ubuntu Free Graphics Drivers
  4. Linus Torvalds On GCC 4.9: Pure & Utter Crap
  5. Updated graphics drivers for Ubuntu 12.04 Precise LTS
  6. Debian + radeonsi
  7. AMD Publishes Open-Source Linux HSA Kernel Driver
  8. Open-source drivers on ATI R7 260X