Commit a8950e49 authored by Romain Perier's avatar Romain Perier Committed by Ley Foon Tan

nios2: memset: use the right constraint modifier for the %4 output operand

Depending on the size of the area to be memset'ed, the nios2 memset implementation
either uses a naive loop (for buffers smaller or equal than 8 bytes) or a more optimized
implementation (for buffers larger than 8 bytes). This implementation does 4-byte stores
rather than 1-byte stores to speed up memset.

However, we discovered that on our nios2 platform, memset() was not properly setting the
buffer to the expected value. A memset of 0xff would not set the entire buffer to 0xff, but to:

0xff 0x00 0xff 0x00 0xff 0x00 0xff 0x00 ...

Which is obviously incorrect. Our investigation has revealed that the problem lies in the
incorrect constraints used in the inline assembly.

The following piece of assembly, from the nios2 memset implementation, is supposed to
create a 4-byte value that repeats 4 times the 1-byte pattern passed as memset argument:

/* fill8 %3, %5 (c & 0xff) */
"       slli    %4, %5, 8\n"
"       or      %4, %4, %5\n"
"       slli    %3, %4, 16\n"
"       or      %3, %3, %4\n"

However, depending on the compiler and optimization level, this code might be compiled as:

34:	280a923a 	slli	r5,r5,8
38:	294ab03a 	or	r5,r5,r5
3c:	2808943a 	slli	r4,r5,16
40:	2148b03a 	or	r4,r4,r5

This is wrong because r5 gets used both for %5 and %4, which leads to the final pattern
stored in r4 to be 0xff00ff00 rather than the expected 0xffffffff.

%4 is defined with the "=r" constraint, i.e as an output operand. However, as explained in, this does not prevent gcc from
using the same register for an output operand (%4) and input operand (%5). By using the
constraint modifier '&', we indicate that the register should be used for output only. With this
change, we get the following assembly output:

34:	2810923a 	slli	r8,r5,8
38:	4150b03a 	or	r8,r8,r5
3c:	400e943a 	slli	r7,r8,16
40:	3a0eb03a 	or	r7,r7,r8

Which correctly produces the 0xffffffff pattern when 0xff is passed as the memset() pattern.

It is worth mentioning the observed consequence of this bug: we were hitting the kernel
BUG() in mm/bootmem.c:__free() that verifies when marking a page as free that it was
previously marked as occupied (i.e that the bit was set to 1). The entire bootmem bitmap is
set to 0xff bit via a memset() during the bootmem initialization. The bootmem_free() call right
after the initialization was finding some bits to be set to 0, which didn't make sense since the
bitmap has just been memset'ed to 0xff. Except that due to the bug explained above, the
bitmap was in fact initialized to 0xff00ff00.

Thanks to Marek Vasut for his help and feedback.
Signed-off-by: default avatarRomain Perier <>
Acked-by: default avatarMarek Vasut <>
Acked-by: default avatarLey Foon Tan <>
parent 02da2d72
......@@ -68,7 +68,7 @@ void *memset(void *s, int c, size_t count)
"=r" (charcnt), /* %1 Output */
"=r" (dwordcnt), /* %2 Output */
"=r" (fill8reg), /* %3 Output */
"=r" (wrkrega) /* %4 Output */
"=&r" (wrkrega) /* %4 Output only */
: "r" (c), /* %5 Input */
"0" (s), /* %0 Input/Output */
"1" (count) /* %1 Input/Output */
Markdown is supported
0% or
You are about to add 0 people to the discussion. Proceed with caution.
Finish editing this message first!
Please register or to comment