# 18. SPARC Specific Information¶

The Real Time Executive for Multiprocessor Systems (RTEMS) is designed to be portable across multiple processor architectures. However, the nature of real-time systems makes it essential that the application designer understand certain processor dependent implementation details. These processor dependencies include calling convention, board support package issues, interrupt processing, exact RTEMS memory requirements, performance data, header files, and the assembly language interface to the executive.

This document discusses the SPARC architecture dependencies in this port of RTEMS. This architectural port is for SPARC Version 7 and 8. Implementations for SPARC V9 are in the sparc64 target.

It is highly recommended that the SPARC RTEMS application developer obtain and become familiar with the documentation for the processor being used as well as the specification for the revision of the SPARC architecture which corresponds to that processor.

SPARC Architecture Documents

For information on the SPARC architecture, refer to the following documents available from SPARC International, Inc. (http://www.sparc.com):

• SPARC Standard Version 7.
• SPARC Standard Version 8.

ERC32 Specific Information

The European Space Agency’s ERC32 is a microprocessor implementing a SPARC V7 processor and associated support circuitry for embedded space applications. The integer and floating-point units (90C601E & 90C602E) are based on the Cypress 7C601 and 7C602, with additional error-detection and recovery functions. The memory controller (MEC) implements system support functions such as address decoding, memory interface, DMA interface, UARTs, timers, interrupt control, write-protection, memory reconfiguration and error-detection. The core is designed to work at 25MHz, but using space qualified memories limits the system frequency to around 15 MHz, resulting in a performance of 10 MIPS and 2 MFLOPS.

The ERC32 is available from Atmel as the TSC695F.

The RTEMS configuration of GDB enables the SPARC Instruction Simulator (SIS) which can simulate the ERC32 as well as the follow up LEON2 and LEON3 microprocessors.

## 18.1. CPU Model Dependent Features¶

Microprocessors are generally classified into families with a variety of CPU models or implementations within that family. Within a processor family, there is a high level of binary compatibility. This family may be based on either an architectural specification or on maintaining compatibility with a popular processor. Recent microprocessor families such as the SPARC or PowerPC are based on an architectural specification which is independent or any particular CPU model or implementation. Older families such as the M68xxx and the iX86 evolved as the manufacturer strived to produce higher performance processor models which maintained binary compatibility with older models.

RTEMS takes advantage of the similarity of the various models within a CPU family. Although the models do vary in significant ways, the high level of compatibility makes it possible to share the bulk of the CPU dependent executive code across the entire family.

### 18.1.1. CPU Model Feature Flags¶

Each processor family supported by RTEMS has a list of features which vary between CPU models within a family. For example, the most common model dependent feature regardless of CPU family is the presence or absence of a floating point unit or coprocessor. When defining the list of features present on a particular CPU model, one simply notes that floating point hardware is or is not present and defines a single constant appropriately. Conditional compilation is utilized to include the appropriate source code for this CPU model’s feature set. It is important to note that this means that RTEMS is thus compiled using the appropriate feature set and compilation flags optimal for this CPU model used. The alternative would be to generate a binary which would execute on all family members using only the features which were always present.

This section presents the set of features which vary across SPARC implementations and are of importance to RTEMS. The set of CPU model feature macros are defined in the file cpukit/score/cpu/sparc/sparc.h based upon the particular CPU model defined on the compilation command line.

#### 18.1.1.1. CPU Model Name¶

The macro CPU_MODEL_NAME is a string which designates the name of this CPU model. For example, for the European Space Agency’s ERC32 SPARC model, this macro is set to the string “erc32”.

#### 18.1.1.2. Floating Point Unit¶

The macro SPARC_HAS_FPU is set to 1 to indicate that this CPU model has a hardware floating point unit and 0 otherwise.

#### 18.1.1.3. Bitscan Instruction¶

The macro SPARC_HAS_BITSCAN is set to 1 to indicate that this CPU model has the bitscan instruction. For example, this instruction is supported by the Fujitsu SPARClite family.

#### 18.1.1.4. Number of Register Windows¶

The macro SPARC_NUMBER_OF_REGISTER_WINDOWS is set to indicate the number of register window sets implemented by this CPU model. The SPARC architecture allows a for a maximum of thirty-two register window sets although most implementations only include eight.

#### 18.1.1.5. Low Power Mode¶

The macro SPARC_HAS_LOW_POWER_MODE is set to one to indicate that this CPU model has a low power mode. If low power is enabled, then there must be CPU model specific implementation of the IDLE task in cpukit/score/cpu/sparc/cpu.c. The low power mode IDLE task should be of the form:

while ( TRUE ) {
enter low power mode
}


The code required to enter low power mode is CPU model specific.

### 18.1.2. CPU Model Implementation Notes¶

The ERC32 is a custom SPARC V7 implementation based on the Cypress 601/602 chipset. This CPU has a number of on-board peripherals and was developed by the European Space Agency to target space applications. RTEMS currently provides support for the following peripherals:

• UART Channels A and B
• General Purpose Timer
• Real Time Clock
• Watchdog Timer (so it can be disabled)
• Control Register (so powerdown mode can be enabled)
• Memory Control Register
• Interrupt Control

The General Purpose Timer and Real Time Clock Timer provided with the ERC32 share the Timer Control Register. Because the Timer Control Register is write only, we must mirror it in software and insure that writes to one timer do not alter the current settings and status of the other timer. Routines are provided in erc32.h which promote the view that the two timers are completely independent. By exclusively using these routines to access the Timer Control Register, the application can view the system as having a General Purpose Timer Control Register and a Real Time Clock Timer Control Register rather than the single shared value.

The RTEMS Idle thread take advantage of the low power mode provided by the ERC32. Low power mode is entered during idle loops and is enabled at initialization time.

## 18.2. Calling Conventions¶

Each high-level language compiler generates subroutine entry and exit code based upon a set of rules known as the application binary interface (ABI) calling convention. These rules address the following issues:

• register preservation and usage
• parameter passing
• call and return mechanism

An ABI calling convention is of importance when interfacing to subroutines written in another language either assembly or high-level. It determines also the set of registers to be saved or restored during a context switch and interrupt processing.

The ABI relevant for RTEMS on SPARC is defined by SYSTEM V APPLICATION BINARY INTERFACE, SPARC Processor Supplement, Third Edition.

### 18.2.1. Programming Model¶

This section discusses the programming model for the SPARC architecture.

#### 18.2.1.1. Non-Floating Point Registers¶

The SPARC architecture defines thirty-two non-floating point registers directly visible to the programmer. These are divided into four sets:

• input registers
• local registers
• output registers
• global registers

Each register is referred to by either two or three names in the SPARC reference manuals. First, the registers are referred to as r0 through r31 or with the alternate notation r[0] through r[31]. Second, each register is a member of one of the four sets listed above. Finally, some registers have an architecturally defined role in the programming model which provides an alternate name. The following table describes the mapping between the 32 registers and the register sets:

Register Number Register Names Description
0 - 7 g0 - g7 Global Registers
8 - 15 o0 - o7 Output Registers
16 - 23 l0 - l7 Local Registers
24 - 31 i0 - i7 Input Registers

As mentioned above, some of the registers serve defined roles in the programming model. The following table describes the role of each of these registers:

Register Name Alternate Name Description
g0 na reads return 0, writes are ignored
o6 sp stack pointer
i6 fp frame pointer

The registers g2 through g4 are reserved for applications. GCC uses them as volatile registers by default. So they are treated like volatile registers in RTEMS as well.

The register g6 is reserved for the operating system and contains the address of the per-CPU control block of the current processor. This register is initialized during system start and then remains unchanged. It is not saved/restored by the context switch or interrupt processing code.

The register g7 is reserved for the operating system and contains the thread pointer used for thread-local storage (TLS) as mandated by the SPARC ABI.

#### 18.2.1.2. Floating Point Registers¶

The SPARC V7 architecture includes thirty-two, thirty-two bit registers. These registers may be viewed as follows:

• 32 single precision floating point or integer registers (f0, f1, … f31)
• 16 double precision floating point registers (f0, f2, f4, … f30)
• 8 extended precision floating point registers (f0, f4, f8, … f28)

The floating point status register (FSR) specifies the behavior of the floating point unit for rounding, contains its condition codes, version specification, and trap information.

According to the ABI all floating point registers and the floating point status register (FSR) are volatile. Thus the floating point context of a thread is the empty set. The rounding direction is a system global state and must not be modified by threads.

A queue of the floating point instructions which have started execution but not yet completed is maintained. This queue is needed to support the multiple cycle nature of floating point operations and to aid floating point exception trap handlers. Once a floating point exception has been encountered, the queue is frozen until it is emptied by the trap handler. The floating point queue is loaded by launching instructions. It is emptied normally when the floating point completes all outstanding instructions and by floating point exception handlers with the store double floating point queue (stdfq) instruction.

#### 18.2.1.3. Special Registers¶

The SPARC architecture includes two special registers which are critical to the programming model: the Processor State Register (psr) and the Window Invalid Mask (wim). The psr contains the condition codes, processor interrupt level, trap enable bit, supervisor mode and previous supervisor mode bits, version information, floating point unit and coprocessor enable bits, and the current window pointer (cwp). The cwp field of the psr and wim register are used to manage the register windows in the SPARC architecture. The register windows are discussed in more detail below.

### 18.2.2. Register Windows¶

The SPARC architecture includes the concept of register windows. An overly simplistic way to think of these windows is to imagine them as being an infinite supply of “fresh” register sets available for each subroutine to use. In reality, they are much more complicated.

The save instruction is used to obtain a new register window. This instruction decrements the current window pointer, thus providing a new set of registers for use. This register set includes eight fresh local registers for use exclusively by this subroutine. When done with a register set, the restore instruction increments the current window pointer and the previous register set is once again available.

The two primary issues complicating the use of register windows are that (1) the set of register windows is finite, and (2) some registers are shared between adjacent registers windows.

Because the set of register windows is finite, it is possible to execute enough save instructions without corresponding restore’s to consume all of the register windows. This is easily accomplished in a high level language because each subroutine typically performs a save instruction upon entry. Thus having a subroutine call depth greater than the number of register windows will result in a window overflow condition. The window overflow condition generates a trap which must be handled in software. The window overflow trap handler is responsible for saving the contents of the oldest register window on the program stack.

Similarly, the subroutines will eventually complete and begin to perform restore’s. If the restore results in the need for a register window which has previously been written to memory as part of an overflow, then a window underflow condition results. Just like the window overflow, the window underflow condition must be handled in software by a trap handler. The window underflow trap handler is responsible for reloading the contents of the register window requested by the restore instruction from the program stack.

The Window Invalid Mask (wim) and the Current Window Pointer (cwp) field in the psr are used in conjunction to manage the finite set of register windows and detect the window overflow and underflow conditions. The cwp contains the index of the register window currently in use. The save instruction decrements the cwp modulo the number of register windows. Similarly, the restore instruction increments the cwp modulo the number of register windows. Each bit in the wim represents represents whether a register window contains valid information. The value of 0 indicates the register window is valid and 1 indicates it is invalid. When a save instruction causes the cwp to point to a register window which is marked as invalid, a window overflow condition results. Conversely, the restore instruction may result in a window underflow condition.

Other than the assumption that a register window is always available for trap (i.e. interrupt) handlers, the SPARC architecture places no limits on the number of register windows simultaneously marked as invalid (i.e. number of bits set in the wim). However, RTEMS assumes that only one register window is marked invalid at a time (i.e. only one bit set in the wim). This makes the maximum possible number of register windows available to the user while still meeting the requirement that window overflow and underflow conditions can be detected.

The window overflow and window underflow trap handlers are a critical part of the run-time environment for a SPARC application. The SPARC architectural specification allows for the number of register windows to be any power of two less than or equal to 32. The most common choice for SPARC implementations appears to be 8 register windows. This results in the cwp ranging in value from 0 to 7 on most implementations.

The second complicating factor is the sharing of registers between adjacent register windows. While each register window has its own set of local registers, the input and output registers are shared between adjacent windows. The output registers for register window N are the same as the input registers for register window ((N - 1) modulo RW) where RW is the number of register windows. An alternative way to think of this is to remember how parameters are passed to a subroutine on the SPARC. The caller loads values into what are its output registers. Then after the callee executes a save instruction, those parameters are available in its input registers. This is a very efficient way to pass parameters as no data is actually moved by the save or restore instructions.

### 18.2.3. Call and Return Mechanism¶

The SPARC architecture supports a simple yet effective call and return mechanism. A subroutine is invoked via the call (call) instruction. This instruction places the return address in the caller’s output register 7 (o7). After the callee executes a save instruction, this value is available in input register 7 (i7) until the corresponding restore instruction is executed.

The callee returns to the caller via a jmp to the return address. There is a delay slot following this instruction which is commonly used to execute a restore instruction - if a register window was allocated by this subroutine.

It is important to note that the SPARC subroutine call and return mechanism does not automatically save and restore any registers. This is accomplished via the save and restore instructions which manage the set of registers windows.

In case a floating-point unit is supported, then floating-point return values appear in the floating-point registers. Single-precision values occupy %f0; double-precision values occupy %f0 and %f1. Otherwise, these are scratch registers. Due to this the hardware and software floating-point ABIs are incompatible.

### 18.2.4. Calling Mechanism¶

All RTEMS directives are invoked using the regular SPARC calling convention via the call instruction.

### 18.2.5. Register Usage¶

As discussed above, the call instruction does not automatically save any registers. The save and restore instructions are used to allocate and deallocate register windows. When a register window is allocated, the new set of local registers are available for the exclusive use of the subroutine which allocated this register set.

### 18.2.6. Parameter Passing¶

RTEMS assumes that arguments are placed in the caller’s output registers with the first argument in output register 0 (o0), the second argument in output register 1 (o1), and so forth. Until the callee executes a save instruction, the parameters are still visible in the output registers. After the callee executes a save instruction, the parameters are visible in the corresponding input registers. The following pseudo-code illustrates the typical sequence used to call a RTEMS directive with three (3) arguments:

load third argument into o2
invoke directive


### 18.2.7. User-Provided Routines¶

All user-provided routines invoked by RTEMS, such as user extensions, device drivers, and MPCI routines, must also adhere to these calling conventions.

In SPARC, the default behaviour is to execute instructions after a branch. As with the behaviour of most RISC (Reduced Instruction Set Computer) machines, SPARC uses a branch delay slot. This is because completing an instruction every clock cycle introduces the problem that a branch may not be resolved until the instruction has passed through the pipeline. By inserting stalls, this is prevented. In each cycle, if a stall is inserted, it is considered one branch delay slot.

For example, a regular branch instruction might look like so:

cmp %o4, %g4    /* if %o4 is equals to %g4 */
be 200fd06      /* then branch */
mov [%g4], %o4  /* instructions after the branch, this is a */
/* branch delay slot it is executed regardless */
/* of whether %o4 is equals to %g4 */


However, if marked with “,a”, the instructions after the branch will only be executed if the branch is taken. In other words, only if the condition before is true, then it would be executed. Otherwise if would be “annulled”.

cmp %o4, %g4    /* if %o4 is equals to %g4 */
be,a 200fd06    /* then branch */
mov [%g4], %o4  /* instruction after the branch */


The mov instruction is in a branch delay slot and is only executed if the branch is taken (e.g. if %o4 is equals to %g4).

This shows up in analysis of coverage reports when a single instruction is marked unexecuted when the instruction above and below it are executed.

## 18.3. Memory Model¶

A processor may support any combination of memory models ranging from pure physical addressing to complex demand paged virtual memory systems. RTEMS supports a flat memory model which ranges contiguously over the processor’s allowable address space. RTEMS does not support segmentation or virtual memory of any kind. The appropriate memory model for RTEMS provided by the targeted processor and related characteristics of that model are described in this chapter.

### 18.3.1. Flat Memory Model¶

The SPARC architecture supports a flat 32-bit address space with addresses ranging from 0x00000000 to 0xFFFFFFFF (4 gigabytes). Each address is represented by a 32-bit value and is byte addressable. The address may be used to reference a single byte, half-word (2-bytes), word (4 bytes), or doubleword (8 bytes). Memory accesses within this address space are performed in big endian fashion by the SPARC. Memory accesses which are not properly aligned generate a “memory address not aligned” trap (type number 7). The following table lists the alignment requirements for a variety of data accesses:

Data Type Alignment Requirement
byte 1
half-word 2
word 4
doubleword 8

Doubleword load and store operations must use a pair of registers as their source or destination. This pair of registers must be an adjacent pair of registers with the first of the pair being even numbered. For example, a valid destination for a doubleword load might be input registers 0 and 1 (i0 and i1). The pair i1 and i2 would be invalid. [NOTE: Some assemblers for the SPARC do not generate an error if an odd numbered register is specified as the beginning register of the pair. In this case, the assembler assumes that what the programmer meant was to use the even-odd pair which ends at the specified register. This may or may not have been a correct assumption.]

RTEMS does not support any SPARC Memory Management Units, therefore, virtual memory or segmentation systems involving the SPARC are not supported.

## 18.4. Interrupt Processing¶

Different types of processors respond to the occurrence of an interrupt in its own unique fashion. In addition, each processor type provides a control mechanism to allow for the proper handling of an interrupt. The processor dependent response to the interrupt modifies the current execution state and results in a change in the execution stream. Most processors require that an interrupt handler utilize some special control mechanisms to return to the normal processing stream. Although RTEMS hides many of the processor dependent details of interrupt processing, it is important to understand how the RTEMS interrupt manager is mapped onto the processor’s unique architecture. Discussed in this chapter are the SPARC’s interrupt response and control mechanisms as they pertain to RTEMS.

RTEMS and associated documentation uses the terms interrupt and vector. In the SPARC architecture, these terms correspond to traps and trap type, respectively. The terms will be used interchangeably in this manual.

### 18.4.1. Synchronous Versus Asynchronous Traps¶

The SPARC architecture includes two classes of traps: synchronous and asynchronous. Asynchronous traps occur when an external event interrupts the processor. These traps are not associated with any instruction executed by the processor and logically occur between instructions. The instruction currently in the execute stage of the processor is allowed to complete although subsequent instructions are annulled. The return address reported by the processor for asynchronous traps is the pair of instructions following the current instruction.

Synchronous traps are caused by the actions of an instruction. The trap stimulus in this case either occurs internally to the processor or is from an external signal that was provoked by the instruction. These traps are taken immediately and the instruction that caused the trap is aborted before any state changes occur in the processor itself. The return address reported by the processor for synchronous traps is the instruction which caused the trap and the following instruction.

### 18.4.2. Vectoring of Interrupt Handler¶

Upon receipt of an interrupt the SPARC automatically performs the following actions:

• disables traps (sets the ET bit of the psr to 0),
• the S bit of the psr is copied into the Previous Supervisor Mode (PS) bit of the psr,
• the cwp is decremented by one (modulo the number of register windows) to activate a trap window,
• the PC and nPC are loaded into local register 1 and 2 (l0 and l1),
• the trap type (tt) field of the Trap Base Register (TBR) is set to the appropriate value, and
• if the trap is not a reset, then the PC is written with the contents of the TBR and the nPC is written with TBR + 4. If the trap is a reset, then the PC is set to zero and the nPC is set to 4.

Trap processing on the SPARC has two features which are noticeably different than interrupt processing on other architectures. First, the value of psr register in effect immediately before the trap occurred is not explicitly saved. Instead only reversible alterations are made to it. Second, the Processor Interrupt Level (pil) is not set to correspond to that of the interrupt being processed. When a trap occurs, ALL subsequent traps are disabled. In order to safely invoke a subroutine during trap handling, traps must be enabled to allow for the possibility of register window overflow and underflow traps.

If the interrupt handler was installed as an RTEMS interrupt handler, then upon receipt of the interrupt, the processor passes control to the RTEMS interrupt handler which performs the following actions:

• saves the state of the interrupted task on it’s stack,
• insures that a register window is available for subsequent traps,
• if this is the outermost (i.e. non-nested) interrupt, then the RTEMS interrupt handler switches from the current stack to the interrupt stack,
• enables traps,
• invokes the vectors to a user interrupt service routine (ISR).

Asynchronous interrupts are ignored while traps are disabled. Synchronous traps which occur while traps are disabled result in the CPU being forced into an error mode.

A nested interrupt is processed similarly with the exception that the current stack need not be switched to the interrupt stack.

### 18.4.3. Traps and Register Windows¶

One of the register windows must be reserved at all times for trap processing. This is critical to the proper operation of the trap mechanism in the SPARC architecture. It is the responsibility of the trap handler to insure that there is a register window available for a subsequent trap before re-enabling traps. It is likely that any high level language routines invoked by the trap handler (such as a user-provided RTEMS interrupt handler) will allocate a new register window. The save operation could result in a window overflow trap. This trap cannot be correctly processed unless (1) traps are enabled and (2) a register window is reserved for traps. Thus, the RTEMS interrupt handler insures that a register window is available for subsequent traps before enabling traps and invoking the user’s interrupt handler.

### 18.4.4. Interrupt Levels¶

Sixteen levels (0-15) of interrupt priorities are supported by the SPARC architecture with level fifteen (15) being the highest priority. Level zero (0) indicates that interrupts are fully enabled. Interrupt requests for interrupts with priorities less than or equal to the current interrupt mask level are ignored. Level fifteen (15) is a non-maskable interrupt (NMI), which makes it unsuitable for standard usage since it can affect the real-time behaviour by interrupting critical sections and spinlocks. Disabling traps stops also the NMI interrupt from happening. It can however be used for power-down or other critical events.

Although RTEMS supports 256 interrupt levels, the SPARC only supports sixteen. RTEMS interrupt levels 0 through 15 directly correspond to SPARC processor interrupt levels. All other RTEMS interrupt levels are undefined and their behavior is unpredictable.

Many LEON SPARC v7/v8 systems features an extended interrupt controller which adds an extra step of interrupt decoding to allow handling of interrupt 16-31. When such an extended interrupt is generated the CPU traps into a specific interrupt trap level 1-14 and software reads out from the interrupt controller which extended interrupt source actually caused the interrupt.

### 18.4.5. Disabling of Interrupts by RTEMS¶

During the execution of directive calls, critical sections of code may be executed. When these sections are encountered, RTEMS disables interrupts to level fifteen (15) before the execution of the section and restores them to the previous level upon completion of the section. RTEMS has been optimized to ensure that interrupts are disabled for less than RTEMS_MAXIMUM_DISABLE_PERIOD microseconds on a RTEMS_MAXIMUM_DISABLE_PERIOD_MHZ Mhz ERC32 with zero wait states. These numbers will vary based the number of wait states and processor speed present on the target board. [NOTE: The maximum period with interrupts disabled is hand calculated. This calculation was last performed for Release RTEMS_RELEASE_FOR_MAXIMUM_DISABLE_PERIOD.]

[NOTE: It is thought that the length of time at which the processor interrupt level is elevated to fifteen by RTEMS is not anywhere near as long as the length of time ALL traps are disabled as part of the “flush all register windows” operation.]

Non-maskable interrupts (NMI) cannot be disabled, and ISRs which execute at this level MUST NEVER issue RTEMS system calls. If a directive is invoked, unpredictable results may occur due to the inability of RTEMS to protect its critical sections. However, ISRs that make no system calls may safely execute as non-maskable interrupts.

Interrupts are disabled or enabled by performing a system call to the Operating System reserved software traps 9 (SPARC_SWTRAP_IRQDIS) or 10 (SPARC_SWTRAP_IRQEN). The trap is generated by the software trap (Ticc) instruction or indirectly by calling sparc_disable_interrupts() or sparc_enable_interrupts() functions. Disabling interrupts return the previous interrupt level (on trap entry) in register G1 and sets PSR.PIL to 15 to disable all maskable interrupts. The interrupt level can be restored by trapping into the enable interrupt handler with G1 containing the new interrupt level.

### 18.4.6. Interrupt Stack¶

The SPARC architecture does not provide for a dedicated interrupt stack. Thus by default, trap handlers would execute on the stack of the RTEMS task which they interrupted. This artificially inflates the stack requirements for each task since EVERY task stack would have to include enough space to account for the worst case interrupt stack requirements in addition to it’s own worst case usage. RTEMS addresses this problem on the SPARC by providing a dedicated interrupt stack managed by software.

During system initialization, RTEMS allocates the interrupt stack from the Workspace Area. The amount of memory allocated for the interrupt stack is determined by the interrupt_stack_size field in the CPU Configuration Table. As part of processing a non-nested interrupt, RTEMS will switch to the interrupt stack before invoking the installed handler.

## 18.5. Default Fatal Error Processing¶

Upon detection of a fatal error by either the application or RTEMS the fatal error manager is invoked. The fatal error manager will invoke the user-supplied fatal error handlers. If no user-supplied handlers are configured, the RTEMS provided default fatal error handler is invoked. If the user-supplied fatal error handlers return to the executive the default fatal error handler is then invoked. This chapter describes the precise operations of the default fatal error handler.

### 18.5.1. Default Fatal Error Handler Operations¶

The default fatal error handler which is invoked by the fatal_error_occurred directive when there is no user handler configured or the user handler returns control to RTEMS.

If the BSP has been configured with BSP_POWER_DOWN_AT_FATAL_HALT set to true, the default handler will disable interrupts and enter power down mode. If power down mode is not available, it goes into an infinite loop to simulate a halt processor instruction.

If BSP_POWER_DOWN_AT_FATAL_HALT is set to false, the default handler will place the value 1 in register g1, the error source in register g2, and the error code in registerg3. It will then generate a system error which will hand over control to the debugger, simulator, etc.

## 18.6. Symmetric Multiprocessing¶

SMP is supported. Available platforms are the Cobham Gaisler GR712RC and GR740.

## 18.8. Board Support Packages¶

An RTEMS Board Support Package (BSP) must be designed to support a particular processor and target board combination. This chapter presents a discussion of SPARC specific BSP issues. For more information on developing a BSP, refer to the chapter titled Board Support Packages in the RTEMS Applications User’s Guide.

### 18.8.1. System Reset¶

An RTEMS based application is initiated or re-initiated when the SPARC processor is reset. When the SPARC is reset, the processor performs the following actions:

• the enable trap (ET) of the psr is set to 0 to disable traps,
• the supervisor bit (S) of the psr is set to 1 to enter supervisor mode, and
• the PC is set 0 and the nPC is set to 4.

The processor then begins to execute the code at location 0. It is important to note that all fields in the psr are not explicitly set by the above steps and all other registers retain their value from the previous execution mode. This is true even of the Trap Base Register (TBR) whose contents reflect the last trap which occurred before the reset.

### 18.8.2. Processor Initialization¶

It is the responsibility of the application’s initialization code to initialize the TBR and install trap handlers for at least the register window overflow and register window underflow conditions. Traps should be enabled before invoking any subroutines to allow for register window management. However, interrupts should be disabled by setting the Processor Interrupt Level (pil) field of the psr to 15. RTEMS installs it’s own Trap Table as part of initialization which is initialized with the contents of the Trap Table in place when the rtems_initialize_executive directive was invoked. Upon completion of executive initialization, interrupts are enabled.

If this SPARC implementation supports on-chip caching and this is to be utilized, then it should be enabled during the reset application initialization code.

In addition to the requirements described in the Board Support Packages chapter of the C Applications Users Manual for the reset code which is executed before the call tortems_initialize_executive, the SPARC version has the following specific requirements:

• Must leave the S bit of the status register set so that the SPARC remains in the supervisor state.
• Must set stack pointer (sp) such that a minimum stack size of MINIMUM_STACK_SIZE bytes is provided for thertems_initialize_executive directive.
• Must disable all external interrupts (i.e. set the pil to 15).
• Must enable traps so window overflow and underflow conditions can be properly handled.
• Must initialize the SPARC’s initial trap table with at least trap handlers for register window overflow and register window underflow.

## 18.9. Stacks and Register Windows¶

The SPARC architecture from Sun Microsystems has some “interesting” characteristics. After having to deal with both compiler, interpreter, OS emulator, and OS porting issues for the SPARC, I decided to gather notes and documentation in one place. If there are any issues you don’t find addressed by this page, or if you know of any similar Net resources, let me know. This document is limited to the V8 version of the architecture.

### 18.9.1. General Structure¶

SPARC has 32 general purpose integer registers visible to the program at any given time. Of these, 8 registers are global registers and 24 registers are in a register window. A window consists of three groups of 8 registers, the out, local, and in registers. See table 1. A SPARC implementation can have from 2 to 32 windows, thus varying the number of registers from 40 to 520. Most implementations have 7 or 8 windows. The variable number of registers is the principal reason for the SPARC being “scalable”.

At any given time, only one window is visible, as determined by the current window pointer (CWP) which is part of the processor status register (PSR). This is a five bit value that can be decremented or incremented by the save and restore instructions, respectively. These instructions are generally executed on procedure call and return (respectively). The idea is that the in registers contain incoming parameters, the local register constitutes scratch registers, the out registers contain outgoing parameters, and the global registers contain values that vary little between executions. The register windows overlap partially, thus the out registers become renamed by save to become the in registers of the called procedure. Thus, the memory traffic is reduced when going up and down the procedure call. Since this is a frequent operation, performance is improved.

(That was the idea, anyway. The drawback is that upon interactions with the system the registers need to be flushed to the stack, necessitating a long sequence of writes to memory of data that is often mostly garbage. Register windows was a bad idea that was caused by simulation studies that considered only programs in isolation, as opposed to multitasking workloads, and by considering compilers with poor optimization. It also caused considerable problems in implementing high-end SPARC processors such as the SuperSPARC, although more recent implementations have dealt effectively with the obstacles. Register windows are now part of the compatibility legacy and not easily removed from the architecture.)

Table 1 - Visible Registers
global %g0-%g7 r[0] - r[7]
out %o0-%o7 r[8] - r[15]
local %l0-%l7 r[16] - r[23]
in %i0-%i7 r[24] - r[31]

The overlap of the registers is illustrated in figure 1. The figure shows an implementation with 8 windows, numbered 0 to 7 (labeled w0 to w7 in the figure). Each window corresponds to 24 registers, 16 of which are shared with “neighboring” windows. The windows are arranged in a wrap-around manner, thus window number 0 borders window number 7. The common cause of changing the current window, as pointed to by CWP, is the restore and save instructions, shown in the middle. Less common is the supervisor rett instruction (return from trap) and the trap event (interrupt, exception, or trap instruction).

The “WIM” register is also indicated in the top left of Figure 1. The window invalid mask is a bit map of valid windows. It is generally used as a pointer, i.e. exactly one bit is set in the WIM register indicating which window is invalid (in the figure it’s window 7). Register windows are generally used to support procedure calls, so they can be viewed as a cache of the stack contents. The WIM “pointer” indicates how many procedure calls in a row can be taken without writing out data to memory. In the figure, the capacity of the register windows is fully utilized. An additional call will thus exceed capacity, triggering a window overflow trap. At the other end, a window underflow trap occurs when the register window “cache” if empty and more data needs to be fetched from memory.

### 18.9.2. Register Semantics¶

The SPARC Architecture includes recommended software semantics. These are described in the architecture manual, the SPARC ABI (application binary interface) standard, and, unfortunately, in various other locations as well (including header files and compiler documentation).

Figure 2 shows a summary of register contents at any given time.

            %g0  (r00)       always zero
%g1  (r01)  [1]  temporary value
%g2  (r02)  [2]  global 2
global      %g3  (r03)  [2]  global 3
%g4  (r04)  [2]  global 4
%g5  (r05)       reserved for SPARC ABI
%g6  (r06)       reserved for SPARC ABI
%g7  (r07)       reserved for SPARC ABI

%o0  (r08)  [3]  outgoing parameter 0 / return value from callee
%o1  (r09)  [1]  outgoing parameter 1
%o2  (r10)  [1]  outgoing parameter 2
out         %o3  (r11)  [1]  outgoing parameter 3
%o4  (r12)  [1]  outgoing parameter 4
%o5  (r13)  [1]  outgoing parameter 5
%sp, %o6  (r14)  [1]  stack pointer
%o7  (r15)  [1]  temporary value / address of CALL instruction

%l0  (r16)  [3]  local 0
%l1  (r17)  [3]  local 1
%l2  (r18)  [3]  local 2
local       %l3  (r19)  [3]  local 3
%l4  (r20)  [3]  local 4
%l5  (r21)  [3]  local 5
%l6  (r22)  [3]  local 6
%l7  (r23)  [3]  local 7

%i0  (r24)  [3]  incoming parameter 0 / return value to caller
%i1  (r25)  [3]  incoming parameter 1
%i2  (r26)  [3]  incoming parameter 2
in          %i3  (r27)  [3]  incoming parameter 3
%i4  (r28)  [3]  incoming parameter 4
%i5  (r29)  [3]  incoming parameter 5
%fp, %i6  (r30)  [3]  frame pointer
%i7  (r31)  [3]  return address - 8


Items

[1] assumed by caller to be destroyed (volatile) across a procedure call

[2] should not be used by SPARC ABI library code

[3] assumed by caller to be preserved across a procedure call

Figure 2 - SPARC register semantics

Particular compilers are likely to vary slightly.

Note that globals %g2-%g4 are reserved for the “application”, which includes libraries and compiler. Thus, for example, libraries may overwrite these registers unless they’ve been compiled with suitable flags. Also, the “reserved” registers are presumed to be allocated (in the future) bottom-up, i.e. %g7 is currently the “safest” to use.

Optimizing linkers and interpreters are examples that use global registers.

### 18.9.3. Register Windows and the Stack¶

The SPARC register windows are, naturally, intimately related to the stack. In particular, the stack pointer (%sp or %o6) must always point to a free block of 64 bytes. This area is used by the operating system (Solaris, SunOS, and Linux at least) to save the current local and in registers upon a system interrupt, exception, or trap instruction. (Note that this can occur at any time.)

Other aspects of register relations with memory are programming convention. The typical and recommended layout of the stack is shown in figure 3. The figure shows a stack frame.

Note that the top boxes of figure 3 are addressed via the stack pointer (%sp), as positive offsets (including zero), and the bottom boxes are accessed over the frame pointer using negative offsets (excluding zero), and that the frame pointer is the old stack pointer. This scheme allows the separation of information known at compile time (number and size of local parameters, etc) from run-time information (size of blocks allocated by alloca()).

“addressable scalar automatics” is a fancy name for local variables.

The clever nature of the stack and frame pointers is that they are always 16 registers apart in the register windows. Thus, a save instruction will make the current stack pointer into the frame pointer and, since the save instruction also doubles as an add, create a new stack pointer. Figure 4 illustrates what the top of a stack might look like during execution. (The listing is from the pwin command in the SimICS simulator.)

Note how the stack contents are not necessarily synchronized with the registers. Various events can cause the register windows to be “flushed” to memory, including most system calls. A programmer can force this update by using ST_FLUSH_WINDOWS trap, which also reduces the number of valid windows to the minimum of 1.

Writing a library for multithreaded execution is an example that requires explicit flushing, as is longjmp().

### 18.9.4. Procedure epilogue and prologue¶

The stack frame described in the previous section leads to the standard entry/exit mechanisms listed in figure 5.

function:
save  %sp, -C, %sp

; perform function, leave return value,
; if any, in register %i0 upon exit

ret        ; jmpl %i7+8, %g0
restore    ; restore %g0,%g0,%g0


Figure 5 - Epilogue/prologue in procedures

The save instruction decrements the CWP, as discussed earlier, and also performs an addition. The constant C that is used in the figure to indicate the amount of space to make on the stack, and thus corresponds to the frame contents in Figure 3. The minimum is therefore the 16 words for the local and in registers, i.e. (hex) 0x40 bytes.

A confusing element of the save instruction is that the source operands (the first two parameters) are read from the old register window, and the destination operand (the rightmost parameter) is written to the new window. Thus, although %sp is indicated as both source and destination, the result is actually written into the stack pointer of the new window (the source stack pointer becomes renamed and is now the frame pointer).

The return instructions are also a bit particular. ret is a synthetic instruction, corresponding to jmpl (jump linked). This instruction jumps to the address resulting from adding 8 to the %i7 register. The source instruction address (the address of the ret instruction itself) is written to the %g0 register, i.e. it is discarded.

The restore instruction is similarly a synthetic instruction and is just a short form for a restore that chooses not to perform an addition.

The calling instruction, in turn, typically looks as follows:

call <function>    ; jmpl <address>, %o7
mov 0, %o0


Again, the call instruction is synthetic, and is actually the same instruction that performs the return. This time, however, it is interested in saving the return address, into register %o7. Note that the delay slot is often filled with an instruction related to the parameters, in this example it sets the first parameter to zero.

Note also that the return value is also generally passed in %o0.

Leaf procedures are different. A leaf procedure is an optimization that reduces unnecessary work by taking advantage of the knowledge that no call instructions exist in many procedures. Thus, the save/restore couple can be eliminated. The downside is that such a procedure may only use the out registers (since the in and local registers actually belong to the caller). See Figure 6.

function:
; no save instruction needed upon entry

; perform function, leave return value,
; if any, in register %o0 upon exit

retl       ; jmpl %o7+8, %g0
nop        ; the delay slot can be used for something else


Figure 6 - Epilogue/prologue in leaf procedures

Note in the figure that there is only one instruction overhead, namely the retl instruction. retl is also synthetic (return from leaf subroutine), is again a variant of the jmpl instruction, this time with %o7+8 as target.

Yet another variation of epilogue is caused by tail call elimination, an optimization supported by some compilers (including Sun’s C compiler but not GCC). If the compiler detects that a called function will return to the calling function, it can replace its place on the stack with the called function. Figure 7 contains an example.

    int
foo(int n)
{
if (n == 0)
return 0;
else
return bar(n);
}

cmp     %o0,0
bne     .L1
or      %g0,%o7,%g1
retl
or      %g0,0,%o0
.L1:  call    bar
or      %g0,%g1,%o7


Figure 7 - Example of tail call elimination

Note that the call instruction overwrites register %o7 with the program counter. Therefore the above code saves the old value of %o7, and restores it in the delay slot of the call instruction. If the function call is register indirect, this twiddling with %o7 can be avoided, but of course that form of call is slower on modern processors.

The benefit of tail call elimination is to remove an indirection upon return. It is also needed to reduce register window usage, since otherwise the foo() function in Figure 7 would need to allocate a stack frame to save the program counter.

A special form of tail call elimination is tail recursion elimination, which detects functions calling themselves, and replaces it with a simple branch. Figure 8 contains an example.

      int
foo(int n)
{
if (n == 0)
return 1;
else
return (foo(n - 1));
}

cmp     %o0,0
be      .L1
or      %g0,%o0,%g1
subcc   %g1,1,%g1
.L2:  bne     .L2
subcc   %g1,1,%g1
.L1:  retl
or      %g0,1,%o0


Figure 8 - Example of tail recursion elimination

Needless to say, these optimizations produce code that is difficult to debug.

### 18.9.5. Procedures, stacks, and debuggers¶

When debugging an application, your debugger will be parsing the binary and consulting the symbol table to determine procedure entry points. It will also travel the stack frames “upward” to determine the current call chain.

When compiling for debugging, compilers will generate additional code as well as avoid some optimizations in order to allow reconstructing situations during execution. For example, GCC/GDB makes sure original parameter values are kept intact somewhere for future parsing of the procedure call stack. The live in registers other than %i0 are not touched. %i0 itself is copied into a free local register, and its location is noted in the symbol file. (You can find out where variables reside by using the info address command in GDB.)

Given that much of the semantics relating to stack handling and procedure call entry/exit code is only recommended, debuggers will sometimes be fooled. For example, the decision as to whether or not the current procedure is a leaf one or not can be incorrect. In this case a spurious procedure will be inserted between the current procedure and it’s “real” parent. Another example is when the application maintains its own implicit call hierarchy, such as jumping to function pointers. In this case the debugger can easily become totally confused.

### 18.9.6. The window overflow and underflow traps¶

When the save instruction decrements the current window pointer (CWP) so that it coincides with the invalid window in the window invalid mask (WIM), a window overflow trap occurs. Conversely, when the restore or rett instructions increment the CWP to coincide with the invalid window, a window underflow trap occurs.

Either trap is handled by the operating system. Generally, data is written out to memory and/or read from memory, and the WIM register suitably altered.

The code in Figure 9 and Figure 10 below are bare-bones handlers for the two traps. The text is directly from the source code, and sort of works. (As far as I know, these are minimalistic handlers for SPARC V8). Note that there is no way to directly access window registers other than the current one, hence the code does additional save/restore instructions. It’s pretty tricky to understand the code, but figure 1 should be of help.

      /* a SAVE instruction caused a trap */
window_overflow:
/* rotate WIM on bit right, we have 8 windows */
mov %wim,%l3
sll %l3,7,%l4
srl %l3,1,%l3
or  %l3,%l4,%l3
and %l3,0xff,%l3

/* disable WIM traps */
mov %g0,%wim
nop; nop; nop

/* point to correct window */
save

/* dump registers to stack */
std %l0, [%sp +  0]
std %l2, [%sp +  8]
std %l4, [%sp + 16]
std %l6, [%sp + 24]
std %i0, [%sp + 32]
std %i2, [%sp + 40]
std %i4, [%sp + 48]
std %i6, [%sp + 56]

/* back to where we should be */
restore

/* set new value of window */
mov %l3,%wim
nop; nop; nop

/* go home */
jmp %l1
rett %l2


Figure 9 - window_underflow trap handler

      /* a RESTORE instruction caused a trap */
window_underflow:

/* rotate WIM on bit LEFT, we have 8 windows */
mov %wim,%l3
srl %l3,7,%l4
sll %l3,1,%l3
or  %l3,%l4,%l3
and %l3,0xff,%l3

/* disable WIM traps */
mov %g0,%wim
nop; nop; nop

/* point to correct window */
restore
restore

/* dump registers to stack */
ldd [%sp +  0], %l0
ldd [%sp +  8], %l2
ldd [%sp + 16], %l4
ldd [%sp + 24], %l6
ldd [%sp + 32], %i0
ldd [%sp + 40], %i2
ldd [%sp + 48], %i4
ldd [%sp + 56], %i6

/* back to where we should be */
save
save

/* set new value of window */
mov %l3,%wim
nop; nop; nop

/* go home */
jmp %l1
rett %l2


Figure 10 - window_underflow trap handler