Friday, June 18, 2010

Building and Booting RTEMS sparc64

I've put together a package at called buildsparc64.tgz that contains a directory structure with scripts to help build the niagara and usiii BSPs.

There is a README with some simple instructions. After extracting the archive, you'll need to create a link in the build-sparc64 directory to the RTEMS sources on your machine (that contain the sparc64 CPU model and BSPs). Assuming you have the sparc64-rtems4.11 tools installed, you will then be able to build the niagara or usiii BSPs. Then there are scripts in the boot subdirectory to help build a bootable ISO image for either BSP. The scripts are set up to only build and package some of the RTEMS sample applications. Note that only Niagara has been run on open source simulators so far. I have run both BSPs on the Simics simulator, and you can contact me privately for more information.

Once you successfully build the image.iso file, you can follow the instructions at my previous post about the M5 simulator to run the BSP. Simply make a link from the built image.iso file to the /dist/m5/system/disks/image.iso file, and make the changes I mention to the M5 configuration files.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

SPARC V9 (sparc64) RTEMS

I'm pleased to announce that the work I've done, together with my colleague Eugen, to get RTEMS working on the sparc64 processor architecture, has been accepted for inclusion to the RTEMS project. We've been working on porting RTEMS to sparc64 for about 9 months, and have had a functional port for about 4 months.

We started with a basic template from the 32-bit SPARC V7 port of RTEMS, and modified or replaced its code with the appropriate support for the 64-bit SPARC V9. There were quite a few changes, since we started with SPARC V7 and skipped ahead to V9. The SPARC V8 truly is somewhere between the two ports. For user-space compatibility, the processor is not substantially different; however, the privileged processor state is very different in SPARC V9, and even more so in the sun4v variant in which we were most interested. I've shared a Updated: Google Doc that contains a lot of our notes from the porting process. We started by focusing on the SPARC Niagara CPU, but have since added support for the UltraSPARC 3 CPU model and should be able to run most UltraSPARC family processors.

A description of the Board Specific Package (BSP) for the Niagara CPU can be found on the RTEMS Wiki at the page. I'm still working to get instructions on how to run the BSP in the M5 open source simulator, which I hinted at in my previous post about M5.

It was a fair amount of work to clean up the code to submit it to RTEMS, but it will be nice to have the code in the repository. I guess we'll see if anyone else is actually interested in using it! One nice aspect, and I think one of the reasons the RTEMS people accepted the work, is that there are no other 64-bit architectures currently supported by RTEMS. So adding the SPARC V9 processor family provides a good way to test RTEMS' 64-bit capabilities. Eugen and I did not have too much difficulty in this regard, at least from a functionality point-of-view.

Hopefully now that the port is "upstream", I can again focus on my research efforts actually using RTEMS on the sparc64, and not just getting things to work!