alignment faults in 3.6

David Laight David.Laight at ACULAB.COM
Thu Oct 11 11:39:38 EDT 2012

> Not exactly. It is asked to to perform 2 32-bit loads which are combined
> into a single ldm (load multiple) which cannot handle unaligned
> accesses. Here's a simple example that does the same thing:
> void test(char * buf)
> {
> 	printf("%d, %d\n", *((unsigned int *)&buf[0]), *((unsigned int *)&buf[4]));
> }

Have you actually looked at what an ARM processor traditionally did
with misaligned memory reads?
While useful, it probably wasn't what was intended.

Actually, and IIRC, some very recent ARM cpus will do the 'expected'
thing for single-word loads from misaligned addesses.
However they almost certainly won't for ldm/stm.

The 'ldm' optimisation for adjacent memory loads is also dubious.
On at least some ARMs it is very slow (might only be strongarms).

> So I guess the only ABI legal unaligned access is in a packed struct.

Correct. And you mustn't try casting the address, the compiler is
allowed to remember where it came from.
(This causes a lot of grief...)

If you are targeting the ARM cpu that can do misaligned transfers,
then gcc should generate single instructions for misaligned structure
members, and never do the 'ldm' optimisations.

But, the IP header is expected to be aligned.


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