[ipxe-devel] Upcoming gcc 9 has issues with ipxe source

Bruce Rogers brogers at suse.com
Thu Jan 24 15:35:55 UTC 2019

>>> On 1/23/2019 at 4:53 PM, Michael Brown <mcb30 at ipxe.org> wrote:
> On 23/01/2019 23:07, Bruce Rogers wrote:
>> An early look at gcc 9 compatibility with packages built in the OpenSUSE 
> Build Service
>> shows that the ipxe sources hit up against a new warning, which is 
> documented as follows:
>> -Waddress-of-packed-member, enabled by default, warns about an unaligned 
> pointer
>> value from the address of a packed member of a struct or union.
>> This issue is reported in this openSUSE bug report: 
> https://bugzilla.opensuse.org/show_bug.cgi?id=1121464 
>> I started to create a patch to address the instance in the bug report, but 
> then found out
>> that taking the address of members in packed structures is fairly common in 
> the code,
>> so I figured I'd first ask if someone is already looking into this or what 
> solution would
>> be best.
>> It's probably reasonable to simply silence this warning in the make system, 
> since I don't
>> think moving to gcc 9 and ignoring this new warning adds risk, but it does 
> point out
>> a portability and performance issue with the code which may be worth fixing.
>> I'd be happy to help provide code fixes, but don't want to jump the gun if 
> people
>> think silencing the warning is the solution.
> iPXE code typically marks any hardware- or protocol-defined structures 
> as packed to indicate that the compiler may not adjust the structure 
> layout.  This includes marking structures that are intrinsically 
> naturally aligned anyway, such as hardware descriptor ring entries.  As 
> far as I'm aware, there's no way to annotate a structure definition as 
> "this is already naturally aligned, but the compiler is still explicitly 
> forbidden from inserting padding", so we end up just marking it as packed.

gcc does allow an attribute for explicitly specifying the alignment of data
items, so that may be useful here.
> We build only for i386, x86_64, arm, and aarch64, all of which support 
> unaligned accesses.  In the case of arm and aarch64, the unaligned 
> accesses are handled via the MMU, which works since the UEFI 
> specification for those architectures requires the MMU to be enabled and 
> to support unaligned accesses.
> It would be nice to have support for architectures with stricter 
> alignment requirements, but only if the code changes are relatively clean.

That was my assumption about how to approach it. Good to hear that from
you, since I don't really work in the ipxe code very much.

> My guess is that silencing the warning is the most appropriate fix, but 
> I'd be interested to see a small sample of how the code could 
> potentially be changed to work with the warning enabled.

I'll see what I can do to dig into this further, and get a better handle on 
all the changes that would or could be made to build ipxe without
having to disable this warning.

One thing I'm not clear on is what compilers ipxe is designed to be
compatible with. Is there a "list"?


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