[fpc-devel] Re. z370 Cross Compilation, Pass 2 of ....

Steve stevie at collector.org
Wed Aug 21 22:17:39 CEST 2013

Mark Morgan Lloyd wrote

> > Otherwise we also rely on external tools (mostly the GNU linker)
> > here. So as a first step you'd choose the approach of using an
> > external assembler and linker, because simply calling a third party
> > utility is easier than completely implementing an internal assembler
> > and linker.
> With the caveat here that as I understand it experienced IBM programmers
> avoid the GNU assembler like the plague, since it doesn't have anything
> like the sort of macro facilities they're used to. By implication, that
> would imply that they prefer to avoid the GNU linker and related tools
> as well.

There is a problem inherent in this discussion; zArch is not one environment!
It's one architecture supporting multiple operating systems, much like the
386/486/586/686 etc supports Linux or DOS or OS/2 or Windows (all 37 versions)
etc. zArch has MVS (in all it's varieties) VM, DOS, LINUX, MFT, MVT, MUSIC/SP,
and loads of other more niche stuff. In addition to all this, later versions of
MVS supply a POSIX compliant shell called OMVS. GNU anything is available in
hardly any of these environments even if we can handle the brain-dead assembler.

> > Just to name a few: you'll need to get parameter passing for functions
> > correctly

> Which leads to another issue: the 370 is a register-based system without
> a stack as understood today. Parameters are mostly passed in registers,
> but this is largely hidden since supervisor calls etc. are usually
> hidden in macros.

I am an MVS person so I can't speak for the other lot but parameter passing
is mostly done in storage. The standard linkage conventions used allow for
two 32-bit signed or unsigned integers (64-bit in later models). Anything
else is passed in a storage area pointed to by register 1. Where this storage
area comes from is complex and variable. My guess that the other IBM systems
have similar models. A further guess is that Linux based code allocates an
area of storage, points a register at it, write a couple of mickey mouse
macros and bingo, a stack.

> My own feeling is that it would be best to start targeting a late-model
> 390, which does have a stack etc., and to use the standard GNU assembler
> and linker (as and ld)/initially/  targeting Linux. Any other
> combination (i.e. a proprietary assembler etc. with an antique MVS as
> target) is going to cause nothing but grief, since it makes it very
> difficult for developers skilled with FPC but not with IBM mainframes to
> give any practical help.

Late-model 390's have a stack, but not as you know it. It's not something
you can go around lobbing arbitrary data at. It is reserved for data saved
during subroutine linkage using the appropriate hardware instruction (Branch
and Stack). This includes various register sets, PSW status info etc) and an
additional two 32-bit signed or unsigned integers (64-bit in later models).


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