The Reference section describes the SuperH RISC ABI and SuperH RISC-specific attributes of the main GNUPro tools.


This section describes SuperH RISC-specific features of the GNUPro Compiler.

SuperH RISC-specific command-line options

For a list of available generic compiler options, refer to "GNU CC Command Options" in Using GNU CC in GNUPro Compiler Tools. In addition, the following SH-specific command-line options are supported:
Generate SH1 code. (default)
Generate SH2 code.
Generate SH3 code.
Generate SH3E code.
Generate SH4 code, with FPSCR_PR == 1 at function entry.
Generate SH4 code, with FPSCR_PR == 0 at function entry.
Generate SH3E code, but with SH4 instruction cost heuristics, code alignment and scheduling.
Uses the non-IEEE conformant floating point comparisons advocated in the SH3E Floating Point Architecture. (default)
Adhere to IEEE arithmetic, even if it costs performance.
Target is big endian. (default)
Target is little endian.
Use long jump tables (this has been modified to use short jump tables where the optimizer detects that a short table is sufficient)
Align doubles on 64-bit boundaries.
Add mac registers to call used registers.
Dump instruction size information.
Obsolete; for backward compatibility only.
Generate pseudo-ops for linker relaxation, and request it from the linker.
Give code size consideration priority before speed.

Preprocessor symbols

The compiler supports the following preprocessor symbols:
Is always defined:
Each of these preprocessor symbols is target dependant.


See "Declaring Attributes of Functions" and "Specifying Attributes of Variables" in "Extensions to the C Language Family" in Using GNU CC in GNUPro Compiler Tools for more information.

New compiler and linker features

The GNUPro compiler and linker have been improved by Cygnus to provide even more benefits for customers developing for embedded targets. These features are guaranteed order of initialization at startup, and selective linking.

Initialization prioritization

In C++, you can define static and global objects with constructors, or initialize static and global variables from a function. This means that the constructors or functions are run before the rest of your program starts. However, when you have these objects spread over multiple files, the C++ standard does not specify the order in which they are initialized, and for all practical purposes the order is random. For an embedded system, this can be a problem, as you may want to ensure that a static scheduler object is initialized before static threads can attach to it, or that devices are initialized before they are used. GNUPro solves this problem by allowing you to define a priority when the static or global is declared. The following example shows the syntax:
static object_t myobj __attribute__((init_priority (30000) ));
The syntax is slightly different if the object takes any arguments to its constructor:
static object_t myobj __attribute__((init_priority (30000) )) = \
object_t(arg1, arg2);
The numeric priority can be from 1 to 65535, with 1 being the highest priority, and 65535 being the lowest. The default priority for objects without this attribute is 65535. Constructors with a higher priority are guaranteed execution before constructors with lower priority.
In all cases, you must provide the argument '-finit-priority' to the compiler on its command-line for it to recognize this attribute when you are compiling your C++ source files.
If you are using eCos, be warned that eCos uses initialization priorities internally. Ensure you choose an appropriate priority level so that other eCos subsystems will have initialized before you refer to them in your own constructor.

Selective linking

When writing C and C++ code, it is sometimes natural to include more than one function in a source file. For example in C++, it is common to have all methods for a particular class contained in the same C++ source file. However, there is a drawback that, conventionally, if you use just one of these functions, then all the functions defined in that file also get included in the final executable image. For an embedded system, this can substantially and unnecessarily increase the size of the final image stored in ROM, or loaded into RAM when debugging.
The GNUPro C and C++ compilers can now optionally remove these unnecessary functions from the final image. They also ensure that any shared global data is removed that is only referenced by functions that are removed. This can be done by including the options '-ffunction-sections' and '-fdata-sections' on the command-line, when you invoke the C or C++ compiler.

The '-ffunction-sections' option removes unnecessary functions, and the '-fdata-sections' option removes unnecessary data.

In addition, when classes define virtual methods in C++, it is possible to remove any unused methods from the final image by passing the option '-fvtable-gc' to the C++ compiler on its command-line.
In all cases, you must also supply a command-line option when linking. If invoking the linker ('ld') directly, use '--gc-sections' on its command-line; alternatively, if you are using the preferred method of linking your executable, using the form:
'gcc -o <program name> <file1>.o <file2>.o'
then also pass the option '-Wl,- -gc-sections' on the compiler command-line, for example:
gcc -o prog f1.o f2.o -Wl,--gc-sections


ABI Summary

This section describes the SuperH RISC ABI, which the SuperH RISC tools adhere to by default.

Data type sizes and alignments

The following table shows the size and alignment for all data types:

Size (bytes)
Alignment (bytes)
1 byte
1 byte
2 bytes
2 bytes
4 bytes
4 bytes
4 bytes
4 bytes
long long
8 bytes
8 bytes
4 bytes
4 bytes
8 bytes
8 bytes
long double
8 bytes
8 bytes
4 bytes
4 bytes

Alignment rules

The stack is aligned to a four-byte boundary. One byte is used for characters (including structure/unions made entirely of chars), two bytes for short (including structure/unions made entirely of short / char) and four-byte alignment for everything else.
These values are modified appropriately when the packed/aligned attributes are used.

Calling conventions

8-bit and 16-bit integer values are promoted to the 32-bit integer type with the same (un)signedness.
More details are outlined in Argument Passing and Function Return Values.

Register usage:
Function returns
Scratch r2-r3
Function arguments
Preserved across calls
Frame pointer, preserved across calls
Stack pointer, preserved across calls
Not preserved across calls
Floating-point function returns
Floating-point function arguments
Preserved across calls

Register Allocation

This is the order in which the compiler allocates registers
Parameter registers:
floating point


The Stack Frame

This section describes SuperH RISC stack frame:
Stack frames for functions that take a fixed number of arguments look like this:
* If no 'alloca' region, the frame pointer (FP) points to the same location as SP.
Functions that take a variable number of arguments use a local variable to store potential unnamed arguments passed in registers.

Argument passing

The floating-point argument passing registers are only used for floating point values. The integer argument passing register is used for other values. If an argument fits entirely in the remaining argument passing registers for its type, it is passed in registers; else it is passed entirely on the stack.
When an argument is passed entirely on the stack, this does not affect the registers available for subsequent arguments - in this regard the sh4 and sh4-single targets differ from all other SH targets so far.
Double precision and complex double precision values are aligned to an even register when passed in registers. If that requires skipping an argument passing register, that register is not used for a subsequent argument. For little-endian targets, the floating-point argument passing registers are used in the order 'fr5', 'fr4', 'fr7', 'fr6', 'fr9', 'fr8', 'fr11', 'fr10'; this is necessary to get correct behaviour for varargs functions.

Function Return Values

Floating-point values are returned in registers 'fr0' through 'fr3': scalar single precision in 'fr0', scalar double precision and complex single precision in 'fr0' and 'fr1', and complex double precision in 'fr0', 'fr1', 'fr2' and 'fr3'. Integer values and small structures that fit in size and alignment in an integer value are returned in register 'r0' if they fit in 32 bits, else in 'r0' and 'r1'.


This section describes SuperH RISC-specific features of the GNUPro Assembler.

SuperH RISC-specific command-line options

For a list of available generic assembler options, refer to "Command-Line Options" in Using AS in GNUPro Utilities.
The target is little-endian.
Use linker relaxation.


For information about SuperH RISC assembler, see Hitachi Single-Chip RISC Microcomputers SH7700 Series Programming Manual (Hitachi Micro Systems, Inc., August 1995).

Register names

r0 through r15
General purpose
fr0 through fr15
dr0, dr2, dr4, dr6, dr8, dr10, dr12, dr14
Floating-point registers addressed as doubles
For communication between general purpose and floating-point registers

Floating point

Hardware floating-point is supported for the SH3E and SH4 only.

Pseudo opcodes

Opcodes are represented in the same character set that the compiler compiling gas uses. For the toolchains we deliver, this is ASCII.

Synthetic instructions

Insert as many nops (and a leading single byte if necessary) to archive the specified alignment.


eCos generates linker scripts appropriate for the exact eCos configuration you have chosen. Instructions on how to use this linker script are provided in the manual Getting Started with eCos.

SuperH RISC-specific command-line options

For a list of available generic linker options, refer to "Linker scripts" in Using LD in GNUPro Utilities. There are no SuperH RISC-specific command-line linker options.


This section describes SH-specific features of the GNUPro Debugger.
To connect to the target board in GDB, using the command:
target remote <devicename>
where '<devicename>' will be a serial device such as '/dev/ttyS0' (Unix) or 'com2' (Windows NT). Then load the code onto the target board by typing 'load'. After being downloaded, the program can be executed.

SuperH RISC-specific command-line options

For the available generic debugger options, refer to Debugging with GDB in GNUPro Debugging Tools. There are no SuperH RISC-specific debugger command-line options.

Debugging programs with multiple threads

Programs with multiple threads can be debugged using either the graphic user interface to GDB, GDBTk or the GDB command line interface. The following describes how to debug multiple threads using the GDB command line.
In some operating systems, such as eCos, a single program may have more than one thread of execution. The precise semantics of threads differ from one operating system to another, but in general the threads of a single program are akin to multiple processes, except that they share one address space (that is, they can all examine and modify the same variables). On the other hand, each thread has its own registers and execution stack, and perhaps private memory.
GDB provides the following functions for debugging multi-thread programs
The GDB thread-debugging facility allows you to observe all threads while your program runs, but whenever GDB takes control, one thread in particular is always the focus of debugging. This thread is called the current thread. Debugging commands show program information from the perspective of the current thread.
For debugging purposes, GDB associates its own thread number, always a single integer, with each thread in your program.
info threads
Display a summary of all threads currently in your program. GDB displays for each thread (in the following order):
    1. The thread number assigned by GDB
    2. The target system's thread I.D.
    3. The current stack frame summary for that thread
An asterisk '*' to the left of the GDB thread number indicates the current thread. Use the following example for clarity.

(gdb) info threads
* 2 thread 2 breakme ()
at /eCos/packages/kernel/v1_1/tests/thread_gdb.c:91
Name: controller, State: running, Priority: 0, More: <none>
1 thread 1 Cyg_HardwareThread::thread_entry (thread=0x1111aaa2)
at /eCos/packages/kernel/v1_1/src/common/thread.cxx:68
Name: Idle Thread, State: running, Priority: 31, More: <none>

thread <threadno>

Make thread number '<threadno>' the current thread. The command argument, '<threadno>', is the internal GDB thread number, as shown in the first field of the 'info threads' display. GDB responds by displaying the system identifier of the thread you selected, and its current stack frame summary, as in the following output.
(gdb) thread 2 
[Switching to thread 2]
#0 change_state (id=0, newstate=0 '\000')
at /eCos/kernel/current/tests/bin_sem2.cxx:93
93 if (PHILO_LOOPS == state_changes++) 
Current language: auto; currently c++

thread apply [<threadno>][<all>] <args>

The thread apply command allows you to apply a command to one or more threads. Specify the numbers of the threads that you want affected with the command argument '<threadno>', where '<threadno>' is the internal GDB thread number, as shown in the first field of the 'info threads' display. To apply a command to all threads, use
'thread apply all args'.
Whenever GDB stops your program, due to a breakpoint or a signal, it automatically selects the thread where that breakpoint or signal happened.
When your program has multiple threads, you can choose whether to set breakpoints on all threads, or on a particular thread.
break <linespec>thread <threadno>
If '<linespec>' specifies source lines, then there are several ways of writing them. Use the qualifier 'thread <threadno>' with a breakpoint command to specify that you only want GDB to stop the program when a particular thread reaches this breakpoint.
'<threadno>' is one of the numeric thread identifiers assigned by GDB, shown in the first column of the 'info threads' display.
If you do not specify 'thread <threadno>' when you set a breakpoint, the breakpoint applies to all threads of your program.
You can use the thread qualifier on conditional breakpoints as well; in this case, place 'thread <threadno>' before the breakpoint condition, as the following example shows.

(gdb) break frik.c:13 thread 28 if bartab > lim 

Whenever your program stops under GDB for any reason, all threads of execution stop; not just the current thread. This allows you to examine the overall state of the program, including switching between threads, without worrying that things may change.

Conversely, whenever you restart the program, all threads start executing. This is true even when single stepping with commands like 'step' or 'next'. In particular, GDB cannot single-step all threads in lockstep. Since thread scheduling is up to your debugging target's operating system (not controlled by GDB), other threads may execute more than one statement while the current thread completes a single step. In general other threads stop in the middle of a statement, rather than at a clean statement boundary, when the program stops.

You might even find your program stopped in another thread after continuing or even single stepping. This happens whenever some other thread runs into a breakpoint, a signal, or an exception before the first thread completes whatever you requested.


For targets that support it, GDB has a new command that helps to debug multi-threaded programs.
The 'set scheduler-locking [on off step]' command allows the GDB user to exert some control over how threads are scheduled while debugging.
Normally GDB does not attempt to interfere with thread scheduling. This means that in the default mode ('scheduler-locking off'), the current thread may be scheduled out, and a different thread may begin running, at any time (as determined by the native scheduler). For instance, you may give a GDB command such as 'step' or 'finish', and when the command completes, you may be looking at a different thread.
If you set the scheduler-locking mode to 'step', then GDB will try to interfere with the native scheduler just enough to prevent another thread from popping up while you debug. Other threads may get to run sometimes, but whenever a command such as 'step' or 'finish' completes, you should be looking at the same thread that was running before the command. Of course, if another thread gets to run and hits a breakpoint, GDB will still switch you to that thread (so if you don't want that to happen, then disable your breakpoints).
For even greater (and more intrusive) control over the thread scheduler, GDB provides the mode 'scheduler-locking on'. In this mode, the native scheduler is completely locked, and no thread may run except the current one. Obviously this will radically change the behavior of your program, and may lead to deadlock or other unpleasant consequences, so use it with caution.


set scheduler-locking [off on step]
Set mode for locking scheduler during target execution.
No locking (threads may preempt at any time).
Full locking (no thread except the current thread may run).
The scheduler is locked during every single-step operation. In this mode, no other thread may run during a step command. However, other threads may run while stepping over a function call ('next').