O'TOP Implementation Ideas


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System configuration

Existing "POSIX-compliant" systems vary a great lot: word size, endianness, stack growth direction, possible assembly (and register) optimizations, availability of useful (GCC) extensions to ANSI C such as like first-class labels or typeof() statements, names and flags of compiler tools, available libraries and corresponding header files to include, etc.

Thus we must have some automatic portable configuration subsystem. Caml-light does things entirely automatically, and determines each feature of the system. PFE uses some kind of database. We should use a mix of these, where there is a system to generate configuration files, and some precomputed configuration files for known systems.

C as a portable assembler

Produce some assembly-like C source, with global variables, labels, jumps in one big procedure, using m4 as a macro-processor, and/or outputing C from the HLL.

This way, we build a generic assembly implementation of the TUNES LLL, to avoid the need for a completely different C based one, while still taking advantage of C optimizing compilers, and we can use our specific calling and multithreading conventions without interfering with the C calling stack (still useful for I/O).

C and memory management

Efficient garbage collection and persistent memory management is particularly difficult if using standard C libraries at the same time. These use their own uncontrollable data-structures in malloc'ed memory.

All persistence and garbage collection should thus be done outside of this malloc'ed memory: This should be done by mmap'ing some persistent file into a system-dependent address space zone out of reach of malloc (say, at least 0.5 GB), and/or mprotect()ed so that we'll be warned in case malloc() reaches it.

Some statical mapping allows much more optimizations, and far easier saving/loading of a persistent memory image. If it's not possible, restoring (not saving) the image would relocate pointers if actual dynamical address is different.

We might use the C call stack pointer as the heap pointer.


This document last modified on Sunday, 29-Oct-2006 13:02:08 PST. See the Changelog

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