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PA-RISC Space Registers and How to use them


There are two types of instruction which reference memory; those with 2-bit 's' fields and those with 3-bit 's' fields.

Instructions with a 3-bit s field are straightforward. The value of the s field directly specifies which of the 8 space registers to use.

Instructions with a 2-bit s field have two cases. If s is 1-3, we use the corresponding space register (sr1-sr3). If the value in the s field is 0, we do not use space register 0. Instead, we use one of sr4-7 as determined by the top two bits of the base register.

In Linux

In Linux, sr4-7 are always set to the same value. When in kernel space, they are 0. In user space, they have the value for the task we're currently executing.

What we were trying to do in pacache.S was use an instruction (flush instruction cache) as if it were a 2-bit-s instruction when it's actually a 3-bit-s instruction. This led to the processor using sr0 instead of one of sr4-7. The assembler now errors on this case, causing us to find a bug.

Just to make things harder, there is a 2-bit-s version of flush instruction cache, but it's only available on pa2.0 processors, so we don't want to use it. Instead we use sr4 (since sr4-7 all have the same value in Linux).

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