The current trend in memory sizes lead me to believe that we'll need
128-bit pointers by 2035. Hardware people are starting to think about it
[1a] [1b] . We have a cultural problem in Linux where we believe that
all pointers (user or kernel) can be stuffed into an unsigned long and
newer C solutions (uintptr_t) are derided as "userspace namespace mess".
The only sane way to set up a C environment for a CPU with 128-bit
pointers is sizeof(void *) == 16, sizeof(short) == 2, sizeof(int) == 4,
sizeof(long) == 8, sizeof(long long) == 16.
That means that casting a pointer to a long will drop the upper 64
bits, and we'll have to use long long for the uintptr_t on 128-bit.
Fixing Linux to be 128-bit clean is going to be a big job, and I'm not
proposing to do it myself. But we can at least start by not questioning
when people use uintptr_t inside the kernel to represent an address.
Getting the userspace API fixed is going to be the most important thing
(eg io_uring was just added and is definitely not 128-bit clean).
Fortunately, no 128-bit machines exist today, so we have a bit of time
to get the UAPI right. But if not today, then we should start soon.
There are two purposes for this session:
- Agree that we do need to start thinking about 128-bit architectures
(even if they're not going to show up in our offices tomorrow)
- Come to terms with needing to use uintptr_t instead of unsigned long
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