[llvm-dev] Fix clang's 'flatten' function attribute: add depth to always_inline?

Reid Kleckner via llvm-dev llvm-dev at lists.llvm.org
Tue Nov 5 10:24:58 PST 2019

I like the proposal to add a new call site attribute, either "flatten" or

I wouldn't want to add an optional depth to the existing always_inline
attribute. It already has a well understood meaning.

Good luck. :)

On Mon, Nov 4, 2019 at 2:12 PM LevitatingLion via llvm-dev <
llvm-dev at lists.llvm.org> wrote:

> Hi everyone,
> clang currently implements the 'flatten' function attribute by marking
> all calls to not 'noinline' functions with 'always_inline'. In effect,
> only the first level of calls is inlined, not all calls recursively
> (like gcc does).
> We briefly discussed possible solutions on IRC:
> We could add an equivalent LLVM attribute for functions (e.g.
> 'flatten'). The main problem with this approach occurs when we're
> inlining the function marked with 'flatten'. In this case we could
> either drop the attribute, move it to the function we're inlining into
> (both would lose the scope of the original 'flatten' annotation), or
> distribute it to all calls within the 'flatten' function (which would
> require a new call site attribute).
> The other approach is to add or modify a call site attribute. We could
> add a specific attribute (e.g. 'flatten' or
> 'always_inline_recursively'), but a more general solution is adding a
> new 'depth' parameter to the existing 'always_inline' attribute. When a
> call site marked 'always_inline' is inlined, the attribute will then be
> duplicated to all new call sites (with decremented depth and only if the
> depth is greater than zero).
> With this solution, one problem remains: an 'always_inline' on the call
> site is currently stronger than a 'noinline' on the callee. Thus, a
> recursive 'always_inline' would ignore 'noinline'. To fix this, we can
> make 'always_inline' weaker than 'noinline'. If that breaks backwards
> compatibility too much, we could add a second parameter (boolean 'weak'
> or 'strong') to 'always_inline'.
> I've never worked on LLVM before, but if someone confirms what the
> preferred solution to this is, I will start working on a patch.
> Thanks for your time
> LevitatingLion
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