[llvm-dev] [LLD] Adding WebAssembly support to lld

Sam Clegg via llvm-dev llvm-dev at lists.llvm.org
Sat Jul 1 10:02:05 PDT 2017

On Fri, Jun 30, 2017 at 5:19 PM, Sean Silva <chisophugis at gmail.com> wrote:
> Can you link to docs about the wasm object format? (both relocatable and
> executable)

The executable format is described here:

The relocatable format that the 'wasm32-unknown-unknown-wam' llvm
target currently emits (and this lld port currently accepts) is still
a work in progress and is (probably somewhat incompletely) described

> Also, traditional object file linkers are primarily concerned with
> concatenating binary blobs with small amount of patching of said binary
> blobs based on computed virtual (memory) addresses. Or perhaps to put it
> another way, what traditional object file linkers do is construct program
> images meant to be mapped directly into memory.
> My understanding is that wasm is pretty different from this (though "linker
> frontend" things like the symbol resolution process is presumably similar).
> Looking at Writer::run in your patch it seems like wasm is indeed very
> different. E.g. the linker is aware of things like "types" and knowing
> internal structure of functions (e.g. write_sig knows about how many
> parameters a function has)
> Can you elaborate on semantically what the linker is actually doing for
> wasm?

You are correct that the wasm linker does have more work to do than a
traditional linker.  There are more sections that the linker will need
to re-construct fully.  This is because there is more high level
information required in the wasm format.  For example, as you point
out, the type of each function.   Functions also live in their own
index space outside of the program's memory space.  This means that
the simple approach of traditional linkers where almost everything can
be boiled down to virtual addresses don't make as much sense here.
This is part of the reason why early attempts to use ELF as the
encapsulation format were abandoned:  wasm is different enough that is
didn't make sense.

Having said that, we've tried to ensure that the code and data
sections can be blindly concatenated (modulo relocations), and that
should allow for the some of the multi-threaded optimizations in lld
to be leveraged.

> -- Sean Silva
> On Fri, Jun 30, 2017 at 4:46 PM, Sam Clegg via llvm-dev
> <llvm-dev at lists.llvm.org> wrote:
>> Hi llvmers,
>> As you may know, work has been progressing on the experimental
>> WebAssembly backend in llvm.  However,  there is currently not a good
>> linking story.  Most the of existing linking strategies (i.e. those in
>> the emscripten toolchain) involve bitcode linking and whole program
>> compilation at link time.
>> To improve this situation I've been working on adding a wasm backend
>> for lld.   My current work is here: https://reviews.llvm.org/D34851
>> Although this port is not ready for production use (its missing
>> several key features such as comdat support and full support for weak
>> aliases) its already getting a some testing on the wasm waterfall:
>> https://wasm-stat.us/builders/linux
>> I'm hopeful that my patch may now be at an MVP stage that could be
>> considered for merging into upstream lld.  Thoughts?  LLD maintainers,
>> would you support the addition of a new backend?
>> cheers,
>> sam
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