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MIPS: Add comment to explain why PIC code gen is the default for MIPS

Authored by mseaborn on Sep 24 2014, 4:06 PM.



The question of why LLVM defaults to PIC for MIPS, when GCC doesn't, keeps coming up.

It seems like it would be useful to add an explanatory comment, even if it's only a partial explanation.

This is based on:

  • What Sasa Sankovic wrote in "MIPS traditionally used PIC relocation model, to be able to use shared libraries. PLT support (which enables non-PIC code to use shared libraries) was added to MIPS only recently, in 2008. I suppose at that time GCC switched to using non-PIC as default. I don't know why LLVM still uses PIC."
  • This thread from 2008, "RFC: Adding non-PIC executable support to MIPS":
  • Part of, which is presumably out of date (from 2008 or earlier), which says: "All userspace code in Linux is PIC code. It is currently not possible to mix non-PIC object files and PIC object files when linking. Therefore the customer needs to generate PIC objects."

Please feel free to suggest a different wording for the comment!

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mseaborn updated this revision to Diff 14057.Sep 24 2014, 4:06 PM
mseaborn retitled this revision from to MIPS: Add comment to explain why PIC code gen is the default for MIPS.
mseaborn updated this object.
mseaborn edited the test plan for this revision. (Show Details)
mseaborn added reviewers: petarj, sstankovic, dsanders.
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sstankovic edited edge metadata.Sep 25 2014, 1:04 AM

LGTM. I would only add that not only GCC but Clang too has non-PIC as default.

Btw, one area that still requires PIC code is creating .so files. Creating .so files from non-PIC code requires that non-PIC relocations be converted into dynamic ones (that would be later resolved by dynamic linker, based on the memory address where .so file is loaded), and Mips linker (currently) cannot convert most of the non-PIC relocation types into dynamic ones. So .so files must be created with -fPIC on MIPS.

petarj added inline comments.Oct 6 2014, 12:15 PM

As I mentioned in D5442, PIC code is generally more efficient in N64, so this part of the comment is not completely valid. In those cases, setting RM to Reloc::Static will actually have no effect, since PIC code will be generated.
It is true that the reasons for PIC in MIPS Linux are historical en générale, though in LLVM case this might have been caused by different defaults at the time.

petarj edited edge metadata.Apr 13 2016, 7:18 AM

I have modified this in r265949 [1], so this change can be abandoned now.

[1] r265949,

seanbruno requested changes to this revision.Sep 26 2016, 6:55 AM
seanbruno added a reviewer: seanbruno.
seanbruno added a subscriber: seanbruno.

Can someone close this review as it has been committed in a different form?

This revision now requires changes to proceed.Sep 26 2016, 6:55 AM
mseaborn abandoned this revision.Sep 26 2016, 7:46 AM

Closing as requested.