Developers Try Again To Upstream Motorola 68000 Series Support In LLVM

Written by Michael Larabel in LLVM on 29 September 2020 at 12:02 AM EDT. 42 Comments
Hobbyist developers are trying once again to get a Motorola 68000 back-end merged into the upstream LLVM compiler. Yes, the M68k processors that are some 30+ years old.

The Motorola 68000 series processors have been around since the 80's thanks to the likes of the early Apple Macintosh computers. Fast forward to 2020, the Motorola 68000 is still a popular target for vintage computer enthusiasts and hobbyists. Community developers have worked on improving the Linux kernel support for M68k hardware like early Apple Powerbooks as recently as a few years ago and the compiler support is a continued target.

GCC 11 due out next year was looking to drop the M68k target over its unmaintained status. Hobbyists though stepped up there so the M68k support will remain in GCC. Now developers are also looking at adding M68k support to the LLVM compiler.

This isn't the first time that M68k support for LLVM has been brought up albeit never successfully landed to date. Building off the past failures to get the Motorola 68000 series support upstreamed, developers last week sent out new patches proposing this back-end -- this time they are showing more clarity about the developers involved and being committed to supporting the code, the sustainability of the code, and responding quickly to code review comments.

This patch series is the latest attempt at upstreaming Motorola 68000 series support in LLVM. Besides all the back-end specific code there is also some common LLVM code changes that fall under greater scrutiny.

We'll see how this attempt pans out over the weeks ahead if LLVM could finally see a mainline Motorola 68000 series back-end in 2020/2021.
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Michael Larabel

Michael Larabel is the principal author of 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 automated benchmarking software. He can be followed via Twitter, LinkedIn, or contacted via

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