What is it that happens when computational loops now contain function calls and how does the compiler react to the change? Taking the GNU gcc compiler (v4.8.2) and the Intel icc compiler (v14.0), I wrote a few pathological code snippets that bring out the general actions built into the compiler.
Recently, I happened to stumble upon a patent from Microsoft that lists possible defenses against attacks on memory safety in JIT compilers. While I never understood the reason behind filing a patent on this, I documented it nevertheless because it has a fairly long laundry list of randomizations applied to machine code generation in modern-day JIT compilers.
As part of understanding techniques to implement Control Flow Integrity, I am studying indirect jmp, indirect call and return instructions. In doing so, I wanted to understand the source of these instructions. Well, the source of return instructions is fairly obvious (they are found in function epilogues). But the indirect jump and call instructions evaded me -- what source code pattern generates these instructions? In some sense, you can hazard a guess that indirect call instructions arise from the use of function pointers (although I have been having a tough time figuring this out from the GCC source code). But indirect jumps?
Turns out, there are four sources of indirect jump instructions in code generated by GCC:
Why is this relevant? Good question. I found this in my notes just recently and I stumbled upon it today (13th Feb 2014) and I forgot why I had recorded this. Anyway, posting it here for the sake of completeness, if I ever go back to reading about indirect jumps.
libdwarf seems to have dissapeared from SGI's website. The last known location of libdwarf was here, but the domain. There appears to be an alternate implementation of libdwarf on SourceForce but it seems like it houses more than what I currently require. To get around the situation, I extracted libdwarf from hpctoolkit-externals.
Update [Sep 2013]: Thanks to Bill Williams from cs.wisc.edu for pointing out that libdwarf is available for download from prevanders.
Today I learnt that all of what I had studied about segmented memory while programming the 8085 and 8086 microprocessors was useless. Well, to be precise, segmentation has been almost abandoned in 64-bit x86 processors and the operating systems that run on it. And if you, like me, were trying to wrap your head around the complexities and inconsistencies that surround memory mapping on 64-bit processors in Linux (and partly, Windows as well), then here's something that might help.
Need I say more?