x32 ABI (x32 application binary interface) is an application binary interface project for Linux that allows programs to take advantage of the benefits of x86-64 (larger number of CPU registers, better floating-point performance, faster position-independent code shared libraries, function parameters passed via registers, faster Syscall instruction... ) while using 32-bit pointers and thus avoiding the overhead of 64-bit pointers.
Though the x32 ABI limits the program to a virtual address space of 4 GB it also decreases the memory footprint of the program and in some cases can allow it to run faster. The best results during testing were with the 181.mcf SPEC CPU 2000 benchmark in which the x32 ABI version was 40% faster than the x86-64 version. On average x32 is 5–8% faster on the SPEC CPU integer benchmarks compared to x86-64 but it can as likely be much slower. There is no speed advantage over x86-64 in the SPEC CPU floating point benchmarks.
|Max. memory per process||4 GiB||128 TiB|
|Integer registers||6 (PIC)||16|
|Pointers||4 bytes||8 bytes|
|PIC prologue||2-3 insn||None|
Several people had discussed the benefits of an x86-64 ABI with 32-bit pointers in the years since the Athlon 64's release in 2003, notably Donald Knuth in 2008. There was little publicly visible progress towards implementing such a mode until August 27, 2011, when Hans Peter Anvin announced to the Linux kernel mailing list that he and H.J. Lu had been working on x32-ABI.
That same day Linus Torvalds replied with a concern that the use of 32-bit time values in the x32 ABI could cause problems in the future. This is because the use of 32-bit time values would cause the time values to overflow in the year 2038. Following this request the developers of the x32 ABI changed the time values to 64-bit.
The x32 ABI was merged into the Linux kernel for the 3.4 release with support being added to the GNU C Library in version 2.16.
- Thorsten Leemhuis (2011-09-13). "Kernel Log: x32 ABI gets around 64-bit drawbacks". www.h-online.com. Retrieved 2011-11-01.
- "x32 - a native 32-bit ABI for x86-64". linuxplumbersconf.org. Retrieved 2012-06-12.
- "x32-abi". Google Sites. Retrieved 2011-11-01.
- "181.mcf SPEC CPU2000 Benchmark Description File". Standard Performance Evaluation Corporation. 1999-10-14. Retrieved 2011-11-01.
- H.J. Lu, H Peter Anvin, Milind Girkar (September 2011). "X32 - A Native 32bit ABI For X86-64".
- Donald Knuth (February 2008). "Recent News: A Flame About 64-bit Pointers". Retrieved 15 May 2012.
- H. Peter Anvin (27 August 2011). "RFD: x32 ABI system call numbers". Retrieved 15 May 2012.
- Jonathan Corbet (2011-08-29). "The x32 system call ABI". LWN.net. Retrieved 2011-11-01.
- Linus Torvalds (2011-08-26). "Re: RFD: x32 ABI system call numbers". LWN.net. Retrieved 2011-11-01.
- H.J. Lu (2011-11-24). "X32 project status update".