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+Hollis Blanchard <hollis@austin.ibm.com>
+5 Jun 2002
+
+This document describes the system (including self-modifying code) used in the
+PPC Linux kernel to support a variety of PowerPC CPUs without requiring
+compile-time selection.
+
+Early in the boot process the ppc32 kernel detects the current CPU type and
+chooses a set of features accordingly. Some examples include Altivec support,
+split instruction and data caches, and if the CPU supports the DOZE and NAP
+sleep modes.
+
+Detection of the feature set is simple. A list of processors can be found in
+arch/ppc/kernel/cputable.c. The PVR register is masked and compared with each
+value in the list. If a match is found, the cpu_features of cur_cpu_spec is
+assigned to the feature bitmask for this processor and a __setup_cpu function
+is called.
+
+C code may test 'cur_cpu_spec[smp_processor_id()]->cpu_features' for a
+particular feature bit. This is done in quite a few places, for example
+in ppc_setup_l2cr().
+
+Implementing cpufeatures in assembly is a little more involved. There are
+several paths that are performance-critical and would suffer if an array
+index, structure dereference, and conditional branch were added. To avoid the
+performance penalty but still allow for runtime (rather than compile-time) CPU
+selection, unused code is replaced by 'nop' instructions. This nop'ing is
+based on CPU 0's capabilities, so a multi-processor system with non-identical
+processors will not work (but such a system would likely have other problems
+anyways).
+
+After detecting the processor type, the kernel patches out sections of code
+that shouldn't be used by writing nop's over it. Using cpufeatures requires
+just 2 macros (found in include/asm-ppc/cputable.h), as seen in head.S
+transfer_to_handler:
+
+ #ifdef CONFIG_ALTIVEC
+ BEGIN_FTR_SECTION
+ mfspr r22,SPRN_VRSAVE /* if G4, save vrsave register value */
+ stw r22,THREAD_VRSAVE(r23)
+ END_FTR_SECTION_IFSET(CPU_FTR_ALTIVEC)
+ #endif /* CONFIG_ALTIVEC */
+
+If CPU 0 supports Altivec, the code is left untouched. If it doesn't, both
+instructions are replaced with nop's.
+
+The END_FTR_SECTION macro has two simpler variations: END_FTR_SECTION_IFSET
+and END_FTR_SECTION_IFCLR. These simply test if a flag is set (in
+cur_cpu_spec[0]->cpu_features) or is cleared, respectively. These two macros
+should be used in the majority of cases.
+
+The END_FTR_SECTION macros are implemented by storing information about this
+code in the '__ftr_fixup' ELF section. When do_cpu_ftr_fixups
+(arch/ppc/kernel/misc.S) is invoked, it will iterate over the records in
+__ftr_fixup, and if the required feature is not present it will loop writing
+nop's from each BEGIN_FTR_SECTION to END_FTR_SECTION.