[ntp:hackers] [Gpsd-dev] A lightweight synchronization mechanism for shared memory

Terje Mathisen terje at tmsw.no
Fri Mar 25 18:20:53 UTC 2011

Gary E. Miller wrote:
> Hash: SHA1
> Yo dave!
> On Fri, 25 Mar 2011, Dave Hart wrote:
>> My recollection is that MIPS R4000, Alpha, or both do not support
>> byte-wide access, instead emitting load aligned destination word into
>> register, twiddle the byte into the register, then store aligned
>> destination word.  By "word" I mean unsigned int, essentially, or
>> possibly 32-bit on 64-bit processors.
> Having actually programmed MIPS and Alpha I can comfirm this misfeature.
> It was a PITA to work around.

The original Alpha had this PITA feature, by the time of the '164 they 
had to add 8 and 16-bit load/store ops.

The main problem was in the drivers for memory-mapped interfaces with 8 
or 16-bit read/write registers, the workaround was supposed to be a 
special set of (aliased) memory-mapped pages where a 32-bit access would 
in fact only touch 8 or 16 bits.

Anyway, using 32-bit accesses exclusively is much safer.

- <Terje at tmsw.no>
"almost all programming can be viewed as an exercise in caching"

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