[llvm-dev] Relocation design of different architecture

mats petersson via llvm-dev llvm-dev at lists.llvm.org
Fri Apr 21 08:07:09 PDT 2017

If you look at the actual code, it's fairly obvious that the approach is
different, in that the COFF versions have a single architecture per class,
the ELF supports many different architectures in the same source code.

I'm not going to go through hundreds of lines of code and explain exactly
how they are different (mostly0 because I'm lazy, but partly becasue I
don't actually KNOW this code - I'm just reading it with a moderate
understanding of the overall goal and general understanding of how the
process of linking and loading works in other software systems)

It is not clear to me why you are asking these questions. Are you planning
to change/extend some of this code, or doing something else? Explaining
what you want to achieve, rather than asking very open-ended questions
would probably be a better way to reach your own goal. I may not be able to
give you an answer, but there are people on this mailing list that has
written this code and/or are currently maintaining it. They are perhaps
busy and may not necessarily enter into generic questions about the overall
code, but specific questions will get more attention.


On 21 April 2017 at 14:54, Siddharth Shankar Swain <
h2015096 at pilani.bits-pilani.ac.in> wrote:

> Thanks for reply, it was really helpful. Can u just be more specific and
> tell about processRelocationRef() and resolveRelocation() in
> Targets/RuntimeDyld(objectfile format)(arch).h and also in
> RuntimeDyldELF.cpp and how the same function is implemented in different
> ways in both the files ?
> Thanks,
> Siddharth
> On Thu, Apr 20, 2017 at 8:16 PM, mats petersson <mats at planetcatfish.com>
> wrote:
>> (Again: Please always REPLY to all recipients, including llvm-dev, unless
>> there is VERY specific reasons not to)
>> The ELF support for relocation is all baked into a single, large function
>> for all different processor architectures. In my humble opinion, it would
>> make the code simpler and more readable to implement this code as multiple
>> derived classes based on architecture (there are several "if(Arch == ...)"
>> or similar, then a large section of code for that architecture). But I've
>> not worked on this code personally, and this is just from a basic "look at
>> the code for a few minutes to understand it". It's probably one of those
>> things that has evolved over time - originally only one or two processor
>> architectures where supported, then someone added one or two more, and
>> eventually you have a function that is ~600 lines of code and a file that
>> is over 1800 lines, compared to the COFF_x86_64 class that is just over 200
>> lines for the entire file. There are positive and negative things about
>> having large or small functions, but my personal choice would be a split -
>> that's not to say that such a split ends up "near the top" of the priority
>> list of "things to do to make LLVM better" - presumably the code works as
>> it is, so changing it MAY break things.
>> --
>> Mats
>> On 20 April 2017 at 15:14, Siddharth Shankar Swain <
>> h2015096 at pilani.bits-pilani.ac.in> wrote:
>>> Thanks for the reply. It was really helpful. So to be more specific
>>> there is a processRelocationRef() and resolveRelocation() in
>>> Targets/RuntimeDyld(objectfile format)(arch).h and also in
>>> RuntimeDyldELF.cpp . Whats the different between these to and for what diff
>>> purpose they are used ?
>>> Thanks,
>>> Siddharth
>>> On Thu, Apr 20, 2017 at 7:10 PM, mats petersson <mats at planetcatfish.com>
>>> wrote:
>>>> Note: Please include the mailing list when replying to discussions, as
>>>> someone else may well want to see the discussion, and may be better placed
>>>> to answer.
>>>> Like I've tried to explain, there is a generic piece of code that
>>>> understands how to load code in general (the class RuntimeDyld and related
>>>> bits), and then specific implementations that derive from a base class to
>>>> do the specific relocation and exception handling for that particular
>>>> hardware and file-format - for each supported processor architecture and
>>>> file-format, there needs to be a specific class that implements some
>>>> functions (processRelocationRef is one of those). Technically, it looks
>>>> like it's using a "pImpl" pattern, but the basic principle is the same
>>>> either way - generic code handles the generic case, a derived class that
>>>> understands how to deal with the specifics is used to actually perform
>>>> relocations in that particular case.
>>>> Exception handling is also target-specific, so in x86-64 and i386, how
>>>> exception information is stored and used is different (I don't know the
>>>> exact details in this case as COFF is the file-format used on Windows, and
>>>> it's been at least 8 or 10 years since I did any programming at all on a
>>>> Windows machine, I know that i386 on Linux uses an exception table, and
>>>> x86-64 on linux essentially has debug information [DWARF tables]). The
>>>> exception information is used to determine how to unwind the stack and
>>>> destroy objects on the way back to the "catch" for that particular
>>>> exception. There is code required both to load the exception tables into
>>>> memory, and to interpret/use those tables - but I'm not overly familiar
>>>> with how that works for JIT'd code. [Actually, looking at the code for
>>>> x86-64, it looks like it's mainly SEH (Structured Exception Handling) that
>>>> is dealt with - the overall concept still applies, but SEH is a Windows
>>>> concept for handling exceptions, which includes hardware exceptions such as
>>>> integer division by zero and memory access exceptions - regular C++
>>>> exceptions are dealt with separately, and that is what uses what I
>>>> described for Linux earlier in this paragraph].
>>>> As to WHY different architectures use different relocations and
>>>> exception handling tables, that's an ABI design issue - a convention that
>>>> is based on the needs and requirements for each architecture, and a bunch
>>>> of compromises between simplicity (a very simple table is easy to
>>>> construct), space (simple table takes up more space than a more complex
>>>> table construction - like a zip file or a text file - the zip file is more
>>>> complicated to read, but takes up a lot less space) and code complexity
>>>> (save space in table, more complex code most likely). Either way, for a
>>>> given platform (OS, Processor, file format), there is a given ABI for
>>>> handling exceptions. The loader needs to load the table in the correct way
>>>> into the correct part of memory, and when an exception is thrown, the
>>>> table(s) need to be understood and acted upon to find the way back to the
>>>> relevant place where the exception is caught.
>>>> The fact that the classes are declared in different files is similar to
>>>> my simple animal example, where you'd have a animal.h for the base class, a
>>>> cat.h, dog.h and fish.h for the actual implementations. Obviously, the
>>>> specific implementations for the RuntimeDyld belongs in "Target" because
>>>> they are dependent on the actual target (which is the combination of
>>>> fileformat, OS and processor architecture).
>>>> --
>>>> Mats
>>>> On 20 April 2017 at 14:04, Siddharth Shankar Swain <
>>>> h2015096 at pilani.bits-pilani.ac.in> wrote:
>>>>> So RuntimeDyldELF.cpp or RuntimeDyldCOFF.cpp or RuntimeDyldMachO.cpp
>>>>>  are doing relocation and linking for specific object file format and all
>>>>> architectures using that object file format. Am i correct? If that is so
>>>>> then these  .cpp files are not using any header file in Targets/ so what
>>>>> are these header files in Targets/ made for ? Another thing is that why
>>>>> these header files in Targets/ handling exception and that too using a
>>>>> different concept of exception frames and exception tables. Please guide
>>>>> Thanks,
>>>>> Siddharth
>>>>> On Thu, Apr 20, 2017 at 6:06 PM, mats petersson <
>>>>> mats at planetcatfish.com> wrote:
>>>>>> Basic Object Oriented design uses a derived class to implement a
>>>>>> functionality of the generic case. It's the same basic principle as:
>>>>>> class Animal
>>>>>> {
>>>>>>     void virtual Say() = 0;
>>>>>> };
>>>>>> class Cat: public Animal
>>>>>> {
>>>>>>     void Say() override { cout << "Meow!" << endl; }
>>>>>> }
>>>>>> class Dog: public Animal
>>>>>> {
>>>>>>     void Say() override { cout << "Woof!" << endl; }
>>>>>> }
>>>>>> class Fish: public Animal
>>>>>> {
>>>>>>     void Say() override { cout << "Blub!" << endl; }
>>>>>> }
>>>>>> In this case, different types of COFF-architectures use different
>>>>>> relocation entries, and based on the architecture, a specific
>>>>>> implementation of the RelocationDyldCOFF class is created to perform the
>>>>>> relocation.
>>>>>> See http://llvm.org/docs/doxygen/html/classllvm_1_1RuntimeDyldCO
>>>>>> FF.html for a class diagram of how this is done.
>>>>>> The generic code in RuntimeDyld*.cpp only knows that relocations
>>>>>> exists, and that they need to be dealt with. Not HOW to actually perform
>>>>>> the relocation - just like "Animal" doesn't know what a cat or a dog
>>>>>> "says". The processRelocationRef() is called here:
>>>>>> http://llvm.org/docs/doxygen/html/RuntimeDyld_8cpp_source.html#l00251
>>>>>> Again, it's not clear exactly what you are asking for, so I'm not
>>>>>> sure whether my explanation is helpful or not...
>>>>>> --
>>>>>> Mats
>>>>>> On 20 April 2017 at 12:05, Siddharth Shankar Swain <
>>>>>> h2015096 at pilani.bits-pilani.ac.in> wrote:
>>>>>>> Thanks for the reply. I was just asking about in general whatever
>>>>>>> header files are there in Targets/ for different architectures are not
>>>>>>> including any function except this processRelocationRef() to be used in
>>>>>>> RuntimeDyldELF.cpp or RuntimeDyldCOFF.cpp or RuntimeDyldMachO.cpp and i
>>>>>>> think these files are the ones which are actually doing the relocation and
>>>>>>> linking work. So what purpose do these header files inside Targets/
>>>>>>> actually serve. Also they include exception handling in form of exception
>>>>>>> frames, So can u guide on this issue ?
>>>>>>> Thanks,
>>>>>>> Siddharth
>>>>>>> On Thu, Apr 20, 2017 at 4:02 PM, mats petersson <
>>>>>>> mats at planetcatfish.com> wrote:
>>>>>>>> The x86_64 and i386 architectures have different actual relocation
>>>>>>>> records. So if you build code for i386, you need one processRelocationRef()
>>>>>>>> function (handling the relevant relocations in that model), and when
>>>>>>>> producing code for x86_64, there are different relocation records. The two
>>>>>>>> files contain the derived form of the class that processes the relocation
>>>>>>>> records when dynamically loading JITed code in LLVM - mainly implementing
>>>>>>>> the two different forms of symbol entries that refer to the relocations -
>>>>>>>> i386 uses COFF::IMAGE_REL_I386_*, in x86_64 the relocation types are
>>>>>>>> COFF::IMAGE_REL_AMD64_*.
>>>>>>>> Conceptually, they do the same thing, it's the details of exactly
>>>>>>>> how and where the relocation ends up and how it's recorded by the linker
>>>>>>>> that differs.
>>>>>>>> Theoretically, one could probably construct a loadable file that
>>>>>>>> doesn't care what architecture it is for, but it would end up with a lot of
>>>>>>>> redundant & overlapping functionality, and the code to handle every
>>>>>>>> different architecture in one huge switch-statement would be rather complex
>>>>>>>> (and long!). So splitting the functionality per architecture helps make the
>>>>>>>> code clear.
>>>>>>>> If you need further help to understand the code, you'll probably
>>>>>>>> need to ask a more concrete question, as it is probably not possible to
>>>>>>>> describe all the relevant information on this subject in less than 200
>>>>>>>> pages, never mind a simple email-thread.
>>>>>>>> --
>>>>>>>> Mats
>>>>>>>> On 20 April 2017 at 11:13, Siddharth Shankar Swain via llvm-dev <
>>>>>>>> llvm-dev at lists.llvm.org> wrote:
>>>>>>>>> Hi,
>>>>>>>>> Can anyone explain in lib/ExecutionEngine/RuntimeDyld/Targets/
>>>>>>>>> the header files included for different architectures like
>>>>>>>>> RuntimeDyldCOFFX86_64.h or RuntimeDyldCOFFI386.h etc, what is the
>>>>>>>>> connection of these files for relocation and linking as the linking and
>>>>>>>>> relocation for diff architecture is done in RuntimeDyldELF.cpp,
>>>>>>>>> RuntimeDyldCOFF.cpp  and it doesn't use any function from these header file
>>>>>>>>> except the processRelocationRef(). The header files in Targets/ also
>>>>>>>>> handles exceptions, so what is the need for that in relocation and linking
>>>>>>>>> process ? Also please help with what this processRelocationRef() actually
>>>>>>>>> does ? . Please guide.
>>>>>>>>> sincerely,
>>>>>>>>> Siddharth
>>>>>>>>> _______________________________________________
>>>>>>>>> LLVM Developers mailing list
>>>>>>>>> llvm-dev at lists.llvm.org
>>>>>>>>> http://lists.llvm.org/cgi-bin/mailman/listinfo/llvm-dev
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