See README.alpha for Linux on DEC AXP info.
This file applies mostly to Linux/Intel IA32. Ports to Linux on an M68K
and PowerPC are also integrated. They should behave similarly, except that
the PowerPC port lacks incremental GC support, and it is unknown to what
extent the Linux threads code is functional.
Incremental GC is supported on Intel IA32 and M68K.
Dynamic libraries are supported on an ELF system. A static executable
should be linked with the gcc option "-Wl,-defsym,_DYNAMIC=0".
The collector appears to work with Linux threads. We have seen
intermittent hangs in sem_wait. So far we have been unable to reproduce
these unless the process was being debugged or traced. Thus it's
possible that the only real issue is that the debugger loses
signals on rare occasions.
The garbage collector uses SIGPWR and SIGXCPU if it is used with
Linux threads. These should not be touched by the client program.
To use threads, you need to abide by the following requirements:
1) You need to use LinuxThreads (which are included in libc6).
The collector relies on some implementation details of the LinuxThreads
package. It is unlikely that this code will work on other
pthread implementations (in particular it will *not* work with
2) You must compile the collector with -DLINUX_THREADS and -D_REENTRANT
specified in the Makefile.
3a) Every file that makes thread calls should define LINUX_THREADS and
_REENTRANT and then include gc.h. Gc.h redefines some of the
pthread primitives as macros which also provide the collector with
information it requires.
3b) A new alternative to (3a) is to build the collector with
-DUSE_LD_WRAP, and to link the final program with
(for ld) --wrap read --wrap dlopen --wrap pthread_create \
--wrap pthread_join --wrap pthread_sigmask
(for gcc) -Wl,--wrap -Wl,read -Wl,--wrap -Wl,dlopen -Wl,--wrap \
-Wl,pthread_create -Wl,--wrap -Wl,pthread_join -Wl,--wrap \
In any case, _REENTRANT should be defined during compilation.
4) Dlopen() disables collection during its execution. (It can't run
concurrently with the collector, since the collector looks at its
data structures. It can't acquire the allocator lock, since arbitrary
user startup code may run as part of dlopen().) Under unusual
conditions, this may cause unexpected heap growth.
5) The combination of LINUX_THREADS, REDIRECT_MALLOC, and incremental
collection fails in seemingly random places. This hasn't been tracked
down yet, but is perhaps not completely astonishing. The thread package
uses malloc, and thus can presumably get SIGSEGVs while inside the
package. There is no real guarantee that signals are handled properly
at that point.
6) Thread local storage may not be viewed as part of the root set by the
collector. This probably depends on the linuxthreads version. For the
time being, any collectable memory referenced by thread local storage should
also be referenced from elsewhere, or be allocated as uncollectable.
(This is really a bug that should be fixed somehow.)