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Re: stabs changes for 64 bit targets

Hi David,

. the new section would be named .stab2 instead of .stab

   [I wasn't sure what to name it; I didn't want to call it .stab64 as I
    could envision someone someday needing to increase the size of the
    string table.  I don't really care what it is called provided it is
    not .stab (backwards compatibility).]

How about: .gnu_stabs ? (Following the general principle of prefix "gnu" to extensions to parts of existing standards).

Does this sound like a reasonable approach?

Mostly, but...

1. How would this new feature be documented ? Ie there ought to be a proper document describing the format rather than just a hand waving "read the code".

2. If you are going to extend the .stab binary format then how about making a few other improvements too ? Such as including a header that describes the version of the STABS format being used and the length of the .stabs entries. That way if some day you need to have 8-byte string indices for example, you can just bump the version number and increase the structure size.

An alternative approach, which might occupy less space is to continue to generate the .stabs entries as before, except that this time the e_value field will be inaccurate. Then in the .stabs2 (or .gnu_stabs) section you just have a run-length encoded list of the high parts of the e_values for each entry. Ie suppose that a .stabs section has 4 entries and that the e_value fields ought to be:


Then the .stabs section would contain e_values of:


And the ,stabs2 section would contain:

  3: 0x00008800
  1: 0xffff0000

(The assumption here is that the 64-bit addresses needed for the .stabs e_value entries are still going to be clumped into 4G pages, so run length encoding of the high part of the address will save space).

This scheme also has the advantage that the .stabs section would still be present and could be consumed by old tools that were unaware of the .stabs2 section, albeit with bogus addresses.

Just a thought...


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