[lldb-dev] Proposal: How to modify lldb for non 8-bit bytes for kalimba processors

Matthew Gardiner mg11 at csr.com
Thu Sep 4 02:01:33 PDT 2014

Todd Fiala wrote:
> > "You can't possibly do that, so many other architectures have 8-bit 
> bytes, and so this proposal would make them harder to enhance, for the 
> benefit of (currently) just kalimba"
> From a design principle, I would probably vote for having 
> non-8-bit-bytes added as a layer on top of memory accesses that is 
> only used for systems that need it.  I'd strongly prefer not to have 
> the generality of n-bit (or multiple of 8-bit bytes) permute 
> throughout the lldb code base.  I can see that becoming challenging 
> from a maintainability standpoint (testing, code complexity, etc.)
> I could imagine a layer you build on top of memory accesses that knows 
> how to run out and grab the right underlying cpu_arch-specific bytes 
> to satisfy the request.  And only wiring that in to low level memory 
> access maybe in the memory read/write virtual methods (like 
> Process::DoReadMemory() and friends).
I've started working on this on my local copy. It's hard to layer this 
everywhere. For example, inside CommandObjectMemoryRead::DoExecute, I'm 
finding that buffers are allocated expectant of a certain number of host 
bytes to be written there. However if the target-being-debugged has, for 
example 24-bit bytes, clearly I need to multiply this buffer size 
accounting for the discrepancy between host/target bytes.

e.g. in CommandObjectMemoryRead::DoExecute

@@ -622,6 +622,8 @@
                  total_byte_size = 32;

+        total_byte_size *= 
          if (argc > 0)
              addr = Args::StringToAddress(&m_exe_ctx, 
command.GetArgumentAtIndex(0), LLDB_INVALID_ADDRESS, &error);

An additional challenge that I'm seeing, is that when we read memory 
(without an attached process) direct from the ELF file, I discovered 
that our toolchain, if building an image for a 24-bit target, rather 
than setting aside 24-bits per target byte, it uses 32-bits per byte. 
(I'm told, this is because part of our toolchain was based on binutils). 
So a set of additional APIs in ArchSpec are required to configure this:

uint32_t GetObjectFileDataByteSize() const;
uint32_t GetObjectFileCodeByteSize() const;

in addition to

uint32_t GetTargetDataByteSize() const;
uint32_t GetTargetCodeByteSize() const;

It turned that the byte size in my object file needs to be considered by 
lldb, when searching for sections in the ELF file,

e.g. from Section::ContainsFileAddress

@@ -186,7 +190,7 @@
          if (file_addr <= vm_addr)
-            const addr_t offset = vm_addr - file_addr;
+            const addr_t offset = (vm_addr - file_addr) * 
              return offset < GetByteSize();

So it's difficult/impossible to have the host_per_target_bytes scaling 
hidden away in only one place.

> That's just my take.  Maintainability and testability being the key 
> driver here.
Yes. My goal is to add some more cases in our test-suite, e.g. doing raw 
memory reads from various targets, and validating how the data is 
presented back. I certainly won't be submitting anything too 
controversial until this is in place.


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