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MonoPorting - Notes on porting Mono

This document captures some experiences I had porting Mono to the HP PA-RISC platform. It is meant to provide some more details about porting Mono to a new platform.


  • Read the Mono Porting page Read it again for good measure.
  • Good platform instruction set reference, including binary encoding
  • Platform ABI definition - mono needs to synthesize calls to both managed and unmanaged routines. All (?) of the existing ports use a unified calling convention for both cases. This is probably the easiest. Things that mono will need to know include:
    • What are the caller-save and callee-save registers
    • How are arguments passed to functions? On RISC architectures, usually the first arguments are passed in registers, and additional arguments are passed on the stack. Also, note how arguments smaller or larger than the register size are handled. For arguments smaller than the register size, is the argument passed left-aligned or right aligned? For arguments larger than the register size, are they passed on register pairs? Are they passed on the stack?
    • How are results returned from functions? For arguments larger than a register, are they returned on the stack or a caller allocated area?
    • If libffi has been ported to your platform, it is a good reference. It also has a good testsuite.

Getting Started

  • Grab the sources from svn Make sure you have all the build-dependencies installed. To get started, you will need at least:
    • automake, autoconf, libtool
    • glib 2.0
    • bison
    • zlib
  • Edit and add/edit a section for your host/target. For example, for hppa-linux, I have:
                AC_DEFINE(MONO_ARCH_REGPARMS,1,[Architecture uses registers for Parameters])
                jit_wanted=true also contains a platform conditional flag that may be useful in other makefiles. Look for the definition of AM_CONDITIONAL in the configure file and edit accordingly.
  • Run
  • Go to the mono/arch directory. Create a subdirectory for your platform. (e.g. hppa).
    • Create a file named <arch>-codegen.h. This file will contain inline functions or macros to emit code for the JIT. For now, create a file with an enum of registers in your architecture. For example, for hppa, we have "HPPAIntRegister" and "HPPAFloatRegister". The order of the register in the enum should correspond to how the register gets encoded in the instruction set.
    • Create a that contains something like the following. Note that existing platforms may have a tramp.c that was used for the now deprecated mono interpreter. This is no longer required:
INCLUDES = $(GLIB_CFLAGS) -I$(top_srcdir)
libmonoarch_hppa_la_SOURCES = hppa-codegen.h
  • Go to the mono/mini directory. Create the following files. For now they can be empty.
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