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2.2 ABI and ISA
ABI (Application Binary Interface) refers to the calling conventions between functions, meaning what registers are used and what sizes the various C data types are. ISA (Instruction Set Architecture) refers to the instructions and registers a CPU has available.
Some 64-bit ISA CPUs have both a 64-bit ABI and a 32-bit ABI defined, the
latter for compatibility with older CPUs in the family. GMP supports some
CPUs like this in both ABIs. In fact within GMP ‘ABI’ means a
combination of chip ABI, plus how GMP chooses to use it. For example in some
32-bit ABIs, GMP may support a limb as either a 32-bit
long or a 64-bit
By default GMP chooses the best ABI available for a given system, and this generally gives significantly greater speed. But an ABI can be chosen explicitly to make GMP compatible with other libraries, or particular application requirements. For example,
In all cases it’s vital that all object code used in a given program is compiled for the same ABI.
Usually a limb is implemented as a
long. When a
long long limb
is used this is encoded in the generated ‘gmp.h’. This is convenient for
applications, but it does mean that ‘gmp.h’ will vary, and can’t be just
copied around. ‘gmp.h’ remains compiler independent though, since all
compilers for a particular ABI will be expected to use the same limb type.
Currently no attempt is made to follow whatever conventions a system has for
installing library or header files built for a particular ABI. This will
probably only matter when installing multiple builds of GMP, and it might be
as simple as configuring with a special ‘libdir’, or it might require
more than that. Note that builds for different ABIs need to done separately,
with a fresh
- AMD64 (‘x86_64’)
On AMD64 systems supporting both 32-bit and 64-bit modes for applications, the following ABI choices are available.
The 64-bit ABI uses 64-bit limbs and pointers and makes full use of the chip architecture. This is the default. Applications will usually not need special compiler flags, but for reference the option is
The 32-bit ABI is the usual i386 conventions. This will be slower, and is not recommended except for inter-operating with other code not yet 64-bit capable. Applications must be compiled with
(In GCC 2.95 and earlier there’s no ‘-m32’ option, it’s the only mode.)
- HPPA 2.0 (‘hppa2.0*’, ‘hppa64’)
The 2.0w ABI uses 64-bit limbs and pointers and is available on HP-UX 11 or up. Applications must be compiled with
gcc [built for 2.0w] cc +DD64
The 2.0n ABI means the 32-bit HPPA 1.0 ABI and all its normal calling conventions, but with 64-bit instructions permitted within functions. GMP uses a 64-bit
long longfor a limb. This ABI is available on hppa64 GNU/Linux and on HP-UX 10 or higher. Applications must be compiled with
gcc [built for 2.0n] cc +DA2.0 +e
Note that current versions of GCC (eg. 3.2) don’t generate 64-bit instructions for
long longoperations and so may be slower than for 2.0w. (The GMP assembly code is the same though.)
HPPA 2.0 CPUs can run all HPPA 1.0 and 1.1 code in the 32-bit HPPA 1.0 ABI. No special compiler options are needed for applications.
All three ABIs are available for CPU types ‘hppa2.0w’, ‘hppa2.0’ and ‘hppa64’, but for CPU type ‘hppa2.0n’ only 2.0n or 1.0 are considered.
Note that GCC on HP-UX has no options to choose between 2.0n and 2.0w modes, unlike HP
cc. Instead it must be built for one or the other ABI. GMP will detect how it was built, and skip to the corresponding ‘ABI’.
- IA-64 under HP-UX (‘ia64*-*-hpux*’, ‘itanium*-*-hpux*’)
HP-UX supports two ABIs for IA-64. GMP performance is the same in both.
In the 32-bit ABI, pointers,
longs are 32 bits and GMP uses a 64 bit
long longfor a limb. Applications can be compiled without any special flags since this ABI is the default in both HP C and GCC, but for reference the flags are
gcc -milp32 cc +DD32
In the 64-bit ABI,
longs and pointers are 64 bits and GMP uses a
longfor a limb. Applications must be compiled with
gcc -mlp64 cc +DD64
On other IA-64 systems, GNU/Linux for instance, ‘ABI=64’ is the only choice.
- MIPS under IRIX 6 (‘mips*-*-irix’)
IRIX 6 always has a 64-bit MIPS 3 or better CPU, and supports ABIs o32, n32, and 64. n32 or 64 are recommended, and GMP performance will be the same in each. The default is n32.
The o32 ABI is 32-bit pointers and integers, and no 64-bit operations. GMP will be slower than in n32 or 64, this option only exists to support old compilers, eg. GCC 2.7.2. Applications can be compiled with no special flags on an old compiler, or on a newer compiler with
gcc -mabi=32 cc -32
The n32 ABI is 32-bit pointers and integers, but with a 64-bit limb using a
long long. Applications must be compiled with
gcc -mabi=n32 cc -n32
The 64-bit ABI is 64-bit pointers and integers. Applications must be compiled with
gcc -mabi=64 cc -64
Note that MIPS GNU/Linux, as of kernel version 2.2, doesn’t have the necessary support for n32 or 64 and so only gets a 32-bit limb and the MIPS 2 code.
- PowerPC 64 (‘powerpc64’, ‘powerpc620’, ‘powerpc630’, ‘powerpc970’, ‘power4’, ‘power5’)
The AIX 64 ABI uses 64-bit limbs and pointers and is the default on PowerPC 64 ‘*-*-aix*’ systems. Applications must be compiled with
gcc -maix64 xlc -q64
The ‘mode64’ ABI uses 64-bit limbs and pointers, and is the default on 64-bit GNU/Linux, BSD, and Mac OS X/Darwin systems. Applications must be compiled with
The ‘mode32’ ABI uses a 64-bit
long longlimb but with the chip still in 32-bit mode and using 32-bit calling conventions. This is the default for systems where the true 64-bit ABI is unavailable. No special compiler options are typically needed for applications.
This is the basic 32-bit PowerPC ABI, with a 32-bit limb. No special compiler options are needed for applications.
GMP’s speed is greatest for ‘aix64’ and ‘mode64’. In ‘ABI=32’ only the 32-bit ISA is used and this doesn’t make full use of a 64-bit chip. On a suitable system we could perhaps use more of the ISA, but there are no plans to do so.
- Sparc V9 (‘sparc64’, ‘sparcv9’, ‘ultrasparc*’)
The 64-bit V9 ABI is available on the various BSD sparc64 ports, recent versions of Sparc64 GNU/Linux, and Solaris 2.7 and up (when the kernel is in 64-bit mode). GCC 3.2 or higher, or Sun
ccis required. On GNU/Linux, depending on the default
gccmode, applications must be compiled with
On Solaris applications must be compiled with
gcc -m64 -mptr64 -Wa,-xarch=v9 -mcpu=v9 cc -xarch=v9
On the BSD sparc64 systems no special options are required, since 64-bits is the only ABI available.
For the basic 32-bit ABI, GMP still uses as much of the V9 ISA as it can. In the Sun documentation this combination is known as “v8plus”. On GNU/Linux, depending on the default
gccmode, applications may need to be compiled with
On Solaris, no special compiler options are required for applications, though using something like the following is recommended. (
gcc2.8 and earlier only support ‘-mv8’ though.)
gcc -mv8plus cc -xarch=v8plus
GMP speed is greatest in ‘ABI=64’, so it’s the default where available. The speed is partly because there are extra registers available and partly because 64-bits is considered the more important case and has therefore had better code written for it.
Don’t be confused by the names of the ‘-m’ and ‘-x’ compiler options, they’re called ‘arch’ but effectively control both ABI and ISA.
On Solaris 2.6 and earlier, only ‘ABI=32’ is available since the kernel doesn’t save all registers.
On Solaris 2.7 with the kernel in 32-bit mode, a normal native build will reject ‘ABI=64’ because the resulting executables won’t run. ‘ABI=64’ can still be built if desired by making it look like a cross-compile, for example
./configure --build=none --host=sparcv9-sun-solaris2.7 ABI=64
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