[LLVMdev] make DataLayout a mandatory part of Module

Jim Grosbach grosbach at apple.com
Wed Jan 29 15:53:07 PST 2014

Hi Nick,

The main use case I’ve seen is that it makes writing generic test cases for ‘opt’ easier in that it’s not necessary to specify a target triple on the command line or have a data layout in the .ll/.bc file. That is, in my experience, it’s more for convenience and perhaps historical layering considerations.

I have no philosophical objection to the direction you’re suggesting.

For modules without a data layout, use the host machine as you suggest. That’s consistent with what already happens with llc, so extending that to opt and other such tools seems reasonable to me.


On Jan 29, 2014, at 3:40 PM, Nick Lewycky <nlewycky at google.com> wrote:

> The LLVM Module has an optional target triple and target datalayout. Without them, an llvm::DataLayout can't be constructed with meaningful data. The benefit to making them optional is to permit optimization that would work across all possible DataLayouts, then allow us to commit to a particular one at a later point in time, thereby performing more optimization in advance.
> This feature is not being used. Instead, every user of LLVM IR in a portability system defines one or more standardized datalayouts for their platform, and shims to place calls with the outside world. The primary reason for this is that independence from DataLayout is not sufficient to achieve portability because it doesn't also represent ABI lowering constraints. If you have a system that attempts to use LLVM IR in a portable fashion and does it without standardizing on a datalayout, please share your experience.
> The cost to keeping this feature around is that we have to pass around the DataLayout object in many places, test for its presence, in some cases write different optimizations depending on whether we have DataLayout, and in the worst case I can think of, we have two different canonical forms for constant expressions depending on whether DL is present. Our canonical IR is different with and without datalayout, and we have two canonicalizers fighting it out (IR/ConstantFold.cpp and Analysis/ConstantFolding.cpp).
> I'm trying to force the issue. Either this is a useful feature to maintain in which case I want to see a design on how to defer ABI decisions until a later point in time, or else we do not support it and target triple and target datalayout become a mandatory part of a valid Module again. I think the correct direction is to make them mandatory, but this is a large change that warrants debate.
> If we decide that target information should be a mandatory part of a module, there's another question about what we should do with existing .bc and .ll files that don't have one. Load in a default of the host machine? 
> Nick
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