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SubjectRe: [RFC 0/2] RISC-V: A proposal to add vendor-specific code
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On Wed, 31 Oct 2018 17:55:42 PDT (-0700), alankao@andestech.com wrote:
> On Wed, Oct 31, 2018 at 07:17:45AM -0700, Christoph Hellwig wrote:
>> On Wed, Oct 31, 2018 at 04:46:10PM +0530, Anup Patel wrote:
>> > I agree that we need a place for vendor-specific ISA extensions and
>> > having vendor-specific directories is also good.
>>
>> The only sensible answer is that we should not allow vendor specific
>> extensions in the kernel at all. ...
>
> How can this even be possible if a extension includes an extra register
> set as some domain-specific context? In such a case, kernel should
> at least process the context during any context switch, just like how it
> deals with the FP context.

Ya, I think there are cases where vendor-specific extensions are going to be
necessary to handle within the kernel. Right now the only one I can think of
is the performance counter stuff, where we explicitly allow vendor-specific
counters as part of the ISA spec.

For stateful extensions, we currently have a standard mechanism where the XS
bits get set in sstatus and the actual save/restore code is hidden behind an
SBI call. That call doesn't currently exist, but if we just go ahead and add
one it should be easy to support this from within Linux. We'll need to figure
out how to enable these custom extensions from userspace, but that seems
tractable as well. We'll probably also want some fast-path for the V extension
(and any other stateful standard extensions), but I think as long as the V
extension adds a quick check for dirtiness then it's not a big deal.

Do you guys have stateful extensions? We're trying really hard to avoid them
at SiFive because they're a huge headache, so unless there's a compelling base
of software using one I don't want to go add support if we can avoid it.

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