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From: Aaron W. LaFramboise (aaronrabiddog51_at_[hidden])
Date: 2004-08-02 01:43:27

Roland wrote:
> On Sun, 01 Aug 2004 21:28:30 -0500 "Aaron W. LaFramboise"
<aaronrabiddog51_at_[hidden]> wrote:
>>The trouble is that we actually want the callback field to point to
>>___xl_a + 4, not at ___xl_a itself, which is zero. The tlssup.obj that
>>is part of MSVC6's runtime libraries gets this wrong, and so the TLS
>>callback list pointed to by the TLS directory looks like this:
>>[null pointer][user-specified callback][null pointer]
>>In other words, whatever bit of the PE loader responsible for calling
>>the TLS callbacks hits that first null, thinks (correctly) that it is
>>the end of the list, and never calls any of the callbacks.
> Unfortunately this seems to be not enough. Even when the first entry
> is not zero (tried to set it to dummy stub) my callback allocated via
> .CRT$XLB does not get called, there are still lot of zeroes in between.
> It seems as if the linker has a minimum size when emiting data segements.

This is odd. This doesn't happen for me. The only problem I have is
the single leading 4-byte zero caused by the improper tlssup.obj code.
As I mentioned, I can swap the correct and incorrect tlssup.obj's out,
and see the problem come and go. I am not sure what PECOFF says, but it
is the expected and well-known behavior that all sections with a $ in
them are sorted and merged before being linked. I have no idea how
zeroes could come to be in the middle.

>>In any case, the runtime fixup you mention appears to fix this, although
>>it might be doing more work that it needs to (you just need to replace
>>that first zero with something valid). I must admit I am slightly
>>concerned about modifying an PE image at runtime to make it correct, for
>>the same reason I am concerned with hooking in production code.
> Hmm. Do I really modify the PE image? I am just modifying data that
lies in the
> data segment. Isn't this ok? What are your concerns?
You are right; this sort of modification is probably not that big of a
deal. I am just concerned that, since this data forms part of the PE
format, a debugger pr loader might rely on it not being altered at runtime.

>> Also, on a unrelated point, is there any reason to use the .CRT$XC
>>section directly rather than use a global class? They're really the
>>same thing, but the entire .CRT section is undocumented, and not very
>>well known. It seems unnecessary to depend upon that interface if there
>>is no particular gain from using it over the well-defined interface.
> Yes. We need to run after the last global c-tor has finished to be
sure that
> all our thread_specific_ptr ctors have been called. This is because I
rely on
> the well documented behaviour of the atexit function that I use at
this time
> to schedule the main-thread exit. This in turn will cause that it will
be run before
> any of the global dtors (e.g. thread_specific_ptr) get to live. This
is to solve for
> the wrong dtor ordering problem.

Yes, you are right here. This does seem to be the best way to get this

> And then: should there be any unforeseeable problems in the future we
> can revert back to the piggy-pack-DLL solution without (noticeable)
effect for the
> user of the library.

I suppose once its in CVS and a few testers run it, we'll see if
anything major breaks. But, I wonder if any of the testers are running,
for eg, Windows 95. A lot of developers still care about users on
Windows 95, but probably none are still using it. That OS is almost a
decade old now, and is older than the copy of the PECOFF specification
that I have. It would be good to have a confirmation that this works there.

Another thing I am curious about is the case where Boost.Thread is
statically linked to user code in a DLL. Will this TLS callback code
still work there?

Aaron W. LaFramboise

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