A Detailed Look At The Speed Advantages To LLVM's LLD Linker

Written by Michael Larabel in LLVM on 6 February 2019 at 08:23 PM EST. 14 Comments
The LLVM Linker "LLD" has slowly been gaining more ground as developers try it out as a drop-in replacement to the GNU system linkers. What turns on many developers to LLD is the often "lightning fast" performance compared to the GNU linkers, even the Gold linker.

Linaro's Peter Smith recently took an extensive look at LLD relative to the other linkers on Linux systems to get a better understanding for the performance advantages and figuring out why that's the case.

Smith found LLD was faster than the Gold linker by two to three times while faster than the standard ld.bfd linker by five to ten times.

Among the reasons why LLD is so much faster comes down to its threading model, continuously evaluating its performance with code changes, a custom memory allocator, more efficient data structures, and other design choices.

Those wanting to look more into the LLD performance advantages for linking can find the detailed notes by Peter Smith. There is also this WebM recording presenting his findings.

Those that haven't explored LLD previously can learn more about LLVM's linker on its project site.
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Michael Larabel is the principal author of Phoronix.com and founded the site in 2004 with a focus on enriching the Linux hardware experience. Michael has written more than 20,000 articles covering the state of Linux hardware support, Linux performance, graphics drivers, and other topics. Michael is also the lead developer of the Phoronix Test Suite, Phoromatic, and OpenBenchmarking.org automated benchmarking software. He can be followed via Twitter, LinkedIn, or contacted via MichaelLarabel.com.

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