Except the borrow bit

Article: Microservers must Specialize to Survive
By: Linus Torvalds (torvalds.delete@this.linux-foundation.org), February 26, 2013 11:13 am
Room: Moderated Discussions
Matthew D (mattd.delete@this.example.com) on February 26, 2013 12:07 am wrote:
> Although everyone agrees what the carry bit should do after an add, there are two conventions
> for the value of the carry bit after a subtract (or compare). They're both in common use.

Oh, absolutely. But that still falls under "naming and position" details. It doesn't change the fact that everybody really wants the same things, they just sometimes call it something else and put it in odd locations or have random details due to historical artifacts.

The four basic flags really are about math and fundamental operations. The fact that there are then various implementation-specific details about exactly how they are encoded is a separate thing, and no different from any other "instruction sets encode things differently" issue.

Carry and overflow are the ones that tend to be odder than most, since they encode stuff not directly visible in the result, so semantics aren't quite as fixed (your borrow example is good). Also, they both tend to be involved in multiple dependent operations.

Carry is used not just for individual operations, but often for multi-precision arithmetic (so there are architectures that duplicate it in multiple locations for different uses) and overflow is often something that you end up checking much later (and there are architectures that do at least two different overflow bits: a "last operation" overflow, and a "sticky" overflow which just accumulates overflow bits).

So yes, I don't dispute that the exact bit pattern details etc change. But I do claim that the four flags are fundamental, and not at all random and implementation-defined in any conceptual sense. The same way everybody wants to have an "add" instruction, everybody pretty much wants to have the four status bits. They just sometimes get encoded really oddly (where "really oddly" can include "don't ever have an instruction that sets them all, but have lots of instructions to set each case separately", which I argue is stupid and only complicates things).

Linus
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Article Online: Microservers must Specialize to SurviveDavid Kanter2013/01/28 01:47 PM
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                                                          Thank you very much!Paul A. Clayton2013/03/07 07:59 PM
                                                            Thank you very much!David Hess2013/03/07 11:22 PM
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                                                      Bit numbering on big endian machinesrwessel2013/02/28 02:32 AM
                                          ARMv8 cleanlinessWilco2013/02/25 05:54 AM
                                            ARMv8 cleanlinessEduardoS2013/02/25 06:24 AM
                                              ARMv8 cleanlinessWilco2013/02/25 07:36 AM
                                                ARMv8 cleanlinessEduardoS2013/02/25 01:06 PM
                                                  ARMv8 cleanlinessWilco2013/02/25 05:24 PM
                                                    ARMv8 cleanlinessEduardoS2013/02/25 05:55 PM
                                                    Utility of data loss exceptionsPaul A. Clayton2013/02/25 08:18 PM
                                                      Utility of data loss exceptionsrwessel2013/02/26 01:00 AM
                                                        Excessively expensive mode changingPaul A. Clayton2013/02/26 06:15 AM
                                                      Utility of data loss exceptionsEduardoS2013/02/26 02:55 AM
                                                        Utility of data loss exceptionsTREZA2013/02/26 04:53 AM
                                                          Utility of data loss exceptionsEduardoS2013/02/26 05:37 AM
                                                      Utility of data loss exceptionsEtienne2013/02/26 06:01 AM
                                            1b vs. 4b not a huge difference?Paul A. Clayton2013/02/25 09:57 AM
                                  Possible benefit of multi-bit CCPaul A. Clayton2013/02/23 08:09 AM
                                ARMv8 cleanlinessrwessel2013/02/18 12:01 AM
                                  ARMv8 cleanlinessWilco2013/02/18 05:33 PM
                                    ARMv8 cleanlinessEduardoS2013/02/18 08:18 PM
                                      ARMv8 cleanlinessWilco2013/02/25 06:19 AM
                      ARMv8 cleanlinessTREZA2013/02/15 04:21 AM
                      ARMv8 cleanliness2013/02/17 10:49 AM
                        ARMv8 cleanlinessLinus Torvalds2013/02/17 11:54 AM
                          ARMv8 cleanlinessLinus Torvalds2013/02/17 11:58 AM
                          ARMv8 cleanlinessnone2013/02/17 04:36 PM
                        ARMv8 cleanlinessTREZA2013/02/17 11:59 AM
                          ARMv8 cleanlinessWilco2013/02/17 12:30 PM
                            and-compare and or-comparePaul A. Clayton2013/02/17 05:28 PM
                              early branch resolutionanon2013/02/18 02:05 AM
                                My ignorance about compilers is vasterPaul A. Clayton2013/02/18 01:30 PM
                                early branch resolutionanon2013/02/18 05:12 PM
                              early branch resolution?EBFE2013/02/19 01:03 AM
                                Early resolution: some but limited potentialPaul A. Clayton2013/02/19 05:52 PM
                                  Early resolution: some but limited potentialhobold2013/02/20 02:02 PM
                                    PPC750 was an inspirationPaul A. Clayton2013/02/23 08:09 AM
                          ARMv8 cleanlinessTREZA2013/02/17 01:53 PM
                            ARMv8 cleanlinessExophase2013/02/17 04:49 PM
                        ARMv8 cleanlinessWilco2013/02/17 12:07 PM
                        ARMv8 cleanlinessbakaneko2013/02/17 12:43 PM
                        ARMv8 cleanlinessJouni Osmala2013/02/17 01:10 PM
                          -1 comparison true seems betterPaul A. Clayton2013/02/17 06:07 PM
                  ARMv8 cleanlinessEtienne2013/07/17 02:58 AM
      ARM server benchmark- why Apache?Per Hesselgren2013/02/05 12:13 AM
        ARM server benchmark- why Apache?anon2013/02/05 12:38 AM
          ARM server benchmark- why Apache?Per Hesselgren2013/02/05 01:25 AM
            ARM server benchmark- why Apache?Michael S2013/02/05 02:13 AM
          ARM server benchmark- why Apache?Michael S2013/02/05 01:51 AM
          I think that was debunked alreadyDavid Kanter2013/02/05 07:36 PM
        ARM server benchmark- why Apache?bakaneko2013/02/06 02:37 AM
          ARM server benchmark- why Apache?Michael S2013/02/06 03:43 AM
            Marketing to PHBs?Paul A. Clayton2013/02/06 06:40 AM
            ARM server benchmark- why Apache?bakaneko2013/02/06 07:08 AM
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