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SubjectRe: [PATCH 00/18] Make common x86 arch area for i386 and x86_64 - Take 2

* Linus Torvalds <torvalds@linux-foundation.org> wrote:

> > of code. i386 is 87847 lines of code, x86_64 is 40978 lines of code,
> > a total of 128825. That means we move about 10% of the code. Not
> > insignificant but not earth-shattering either. With alot more effort
> > (and testing) we could realistically go up to maybe 20% - but that's
> > still a bit low to spread out all the files, isnt it?
>
> Well, I'd like it to be 100% _eventually_, and just unify the
> architectures.

ok, having a single bi-arch final tree is indeed intriquing and i didnt
realize that you were suggesting that. (I had the impression that
arch/x86/ was more of a 'common library' thing, not a target
architecture. What felt weird to me was having 3 separate hierarchies -
but as long as it's just a temporary state it's OK.)

> We've now done that both for S/390 and POWER, and I think in both
> cases it's been a clear win. So it's not like this is even a radical
> idea.

the x86_64 and i386 trees have diverged quite a bit though, so this will
be a major logistical undertaking. And with Andi opposed to
fundamentally it it also lacks a bit of manpower i guess :-/

> There really is almost nothing in i386 that shouldn't be supported on
> x86-64 too, unless it literally is the actual low-level asm files and
> vm86 mode support (which in turn is best left as just a config option
> that would just *depend* on 32-bit, so even that could sanely be
> represented in a shared tree without any real downside at all).

yeah. But this really scares the sh*t out of me. I already tried to
unify some of the most fragile lowlevel bits recently: for example the
SMP bootup, TSC sync and APIC initialization sequences were totally
different on x86 and x86_64. And those kind of random deviations have
spread all around the tree. But ... my experience has been pretty
positive: touching both codebases at once tends to dust off old code and
tends to fix more bugs. And in the process of doing that we broke
Andrew's laptop only half a dozen times! ;) But .. in the long run, it's
alot easier to think about unified code. 32-bit x86 will certainly stay
with us for at least 10-20 years, and the best model for maintainance is
having one codebase.
Another practical complication is that even for modular stuff, sometimes
x86_64 has the better code, sometimes i386. But ... the more i think
about it the more i like it. -m32 certainly works fine and does the
right thing.

Ingo
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