Version 9 (modified by dterei, 4 years ago) (diff)

fix heading levels

Bugs & Other Problems

This page lists bugs and problems currently known about in the LLVM backend.

Unsupported GHC Features


Dynamic library support hasn't been tested at all in the LLVM backend. No work has been done on it. Its very unlikely that this feature works in the LLVM backend at the moment.


GHC for heap objects places the info table (meta data) and the code adjacent to each other. That is, in memory, the object firstly has a head structure, which consists of a pointer to an info table and a payload structure. The pointer points to the bottom of the info table and the closures code is placed to be straight after the info table, so to jump to the code we can just jump one past the info table pointer. The other way to do this would be to have the info table contain a pointer to the closure code. However this would then require two jumps to get to the code instead of just one jump in the optimised layout. Achieving this layout can create some difficulty, the current back-ends handle it as follows:

  • The NCG can create this layout itself
  • The C code generator can't. So the Evil Mangler rearranges the GCC assembly code to achieve the layout.

There is a build option in GHC to use the unoptimised layout and instead use a pointer to the code in the info table. This layout can be enabled/disabled by using the compiler #def TABLES_NEXT_TO_CODE. As LLVM has no means to achieve the optimised layout and we don't wish to write an LLVM sister for the Evil Mangler, the LLVM back-end currently uses the unoptimised layout. This apparently incurs a performance penalty of 5% (source, Making a Fast Curry: Push/Enter? vs. Eval/Apply? for Higher-order Languages, Simon Marlow and Simon Peyton Jones, 2004).



Don't use the NoReturn function attribute. It causes the LLVM optimiser to produce bad code as it replaces the following sequence of instructions:

tail call fastcc void (i32,i32,i32,i32)* %nnO( i32 %nnP,i32 %nnQ,i32 %nnR,i32 %nnS )
ret void


tail call fastcc void (i32,i32,i32,i32)* %nnO( i32 %nnP,i32 %nnQ,i32 %nnR,i32 %nnS )

which stops llc producing native code that actually tail calls and thus leads to a runtime segfault.

TODO: Need to investigate this further and submit a bug report to LLVM.

GHC LLVM Back-end Bugs

Foreign Calls on Mac OSX

Foreign calls on Mac OS X don't work. Seems to be because LLVM isn't generating correct code. All system calls must be 16 byte aligned in OS X and llvm isn't respecting this. Not sure if its a bug in LLVM or due to my changes to LLVM.

Update (20/02/10): I fixed this issue using the inline assembler approach (see below). This reduces the test failures on Mac OSX from 22 to 9. So doesn't fix everything. Still other issues. Also, I tried using the new stalk alignment feature but that interacts badly with the GHC calling convention, clobbering the Base register.


  • A new function attribute has just landed in SVN which allows stack alignment to be specified when a call is made.
  • Can use inline assembler to fix stack alignment.
  • Fix stack calculation in LLVM (my changes must have broken it).

Known Function mistaken for Unknown External Label

If a function is initially used as a label (e.g the address of it is taken) then the code generator creates an external reference label for it. Later if that function is called directly as a funciton then as it has previously been defined as a function the code generator gets confused and creates an invalid bitcast. Could either look to redefine the function label when more information is encountered, or just fix up the bitcast.

Segfault running HRay

HRay is a Haskell Ray Tracer. If you download it and build it with the LLVM backend, some scenes (such as trans2, provided example scene) cause it to segfault. If built with NCG instead this doesn't occur.

Possible Problems (Unconfirmed Bugs)

  • See GHC trac ticket #1852. Floats are padded to word size (4 extra bytes on a 64 bit machine) by putting an appropriate CmmLit before them. On fasm this is necessary and forces the NCG to produce correct code. On fvia-C, this isn't necessary so it strips this padding out. What approach does LLVM blocks end in a control flow statement which seems pretty useful to me. need?
  • SPARC/CodeGen/Gen32.hs seems to have a few special cases for CmmMachOp. Perhaps these should also be handled in LLVM to improve performance?
  • tail call only supported on x86/x86-64 and PowerPC. What about SPARC? How will we use the LLVM back-end on SPARC?