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Ekaitz’s tech weblog

Ekaitz’s tech weblog

2023-01-14 22:12:22

You most likely already find out about how I spent greater than a yr having enjoyable with
RISC-V and software program bootstrapping from supply.

As some could know from my FOSDEM talk, NLNet / NGI-Assure put the
to make me spend extra time on this for this yr and I made a decision
to work on GCC’s bootstrapping course of for RISC-V.


GCC might be probably the most used compiler assortment, interval. With GCC we will
compile the world and have a correct distribution instantly from supply, however who
compiles the compiler?

Effectively, somebody has to.

The bootstrap

Bootstrapping a compiler with an extended historical past like GCC for a brand new structure
like RISC-V includes some issues, beginning on the truth that the primary
model of GCC that helps RISC-V wants a C++98 succesful compiler with the intention to
construct. C++98 is a extremely advanced commonplace, so there’s no method we will bootstrap a
C++98 compiler in the meanwhile for RISC-V. The best method we will consider at
this level is to make use of an older model of GCC for that, a kind of which are
in a position to construct C++98 applications however they solely require a C compiler to construct. Older
variations of GCC, in fact, don’t have RISC-V help so… We’d like a

In order that’s what I’m doing proper now. I’m taking an outdated model of GCC that solely
relies on C89 and is ready to compile C++98 code and I’m porting it to RISC-V
so we will construct newer GCCs with it.

Solely needing C to compile it’s an enormous enchancment as a result of there are Tiny C
on the market that may compile C to RISC-V, and people are written utilizing
easy C that we will bootstrap with less complicated instruments of a extra civilized world.

In abstract:

  • C++98 is simply too advanced, however C89 is fantastic.
  • GCC is the issue and likewise the resolution.

What about GNU Mes?

When we began with this effort we needed to arrange GNU Mes, a small C
compiler that is ready to compile a Tiny C Compiler, to work with RISC-V so we
may begin to work on this bootstrap course of from the backside.

Some random occasions, like another person engaged on that half, made us rethink our
technique so we determined to begin from the highest and attempt to mix each efforts at
the tip. We share the identical objective: full supply bootstrap for RISC-V.

Tiny C Compilers?

There are various small C compilers on the market which are written in easy C and are
in a position to compile an outdated GCC that’s written in C. Our favourite is TinyCC (Tiny C Compiler).

GNU Mes is ready to construct a patched model of TinyCC, which already helps
RISC-V (RV64 solely), and we will use that TinyCC to compile the GCC model I’m backporting.

We’d most likely have to patch some issues in each tasks to make every little thing
work easily however that’s additionally included within the mission plan.


Binutils can also be an issue largely as a result of GCC, as we’ll speak about within the
future, doesn’t compile to binary instantly. GCC generates meeting code and
coordinates calls to as and ld (the GNU Assembler and Linker) to generate
the ultimate binaries. Fortunately, TinyCC can act as an assembler and a linker,
and there’s additionally the prospect to compile a contemporary binutils model as a result of it’s
written in C.

See Also

In any case, the binary file era and help should be taken in account,
as a result of GCC will not be the one actor on this movie and RISC-V has some bizarre issues
on the meeting and the binaries that must be supported accurately.


It is a very attention-grabbing mission, the place I have to dig in BIG stuff, which
is cool, but additionally has an enormous stage of uncertainty, which scares the hell out of
me. I hope every little thing goes properly…

In any case, I’ll share all I be taught right here within the weblog and I preserve you all posted
with the information we have.

That’s all for this time. When you’ve got any query or remark or need to share
your ideas and emotions with me you could find my
contact information here.

PS: Huge as much as NlNet / NGI-Guarantee for the cash.

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