2GB address space limit on 32-bit PowerPC Macintosh

Benjamin Herrenschmidt benh at kernel.crashing.org
Mon May 16 09:01:53 EST 2005

On Sun, 2005-05-15 at 15:36 -0700, John Reiser wrote:
> The 2GB limit on TASK_SIZE for user address space on 32-bit PowerPC
> Apple Macintosh is getting in the way of database, filesystem
> maintenance, and scientific applications.  In user mode, most
> i686 desktops can address 3GB.  While 64-bit systems are becoming
> available, the vast majority of existing systems are still 32-bit.
> What can be done to get a larger address space for existing Macs?
> According to arch/ppc/syslib/prom_init.c, the first problem is
> that CONFIG_BOOTX_TEXT restricts CONFIG_TASK_SIZE to only 0x80000000.
> Is this an initialization-only restriction that just happens
> to persist beyond initialization?  What would it take to remove
> this collision from affecting life after boot?  How much of booting
> does CONFIG_BOOTX_TEXT affect?

The limitation related to CONFIG_BOOTX_TEXT is only a problem on G5,
which isn't supported for 32 bits kernel anymore anyway. "Normal" 32
bits kernel should work fine with TASK_SIZE set to 3Gb. However, there
is another reason why it defaults to 2GB currently, and it is non-32
bits machines.

We "inherited" from some historic junk in the prep and chrp support,
that a lot of embedded platforms blindly copied, where archs use
io_block_mapping() early during boot to hard-wire various IO stuffs in
various places in the address space, including just after 2Gb. It's
totally bogus, but nobody really cared to fix it so far. The 2Gb
TASK_SIZE limit doesn't seem to have ever been an issue for ppc32 users
so far I must say, at least you are the first one to complain ;)

Anyway, nothing prevents you, on a Mac, to force it to 3Gb in
the .config, it will work fine hopefully.  If you are using a G5, just
use a 64 bits kernel.


More information about the Linuxppc-dev mailing list