LLVM 8.0.0 Release Notes


This document contains the release notes for the LLVM Compiler Infrastructure, release 8.0.0. Here we describe the status of LLVM, including major improvements from the previous release, improvements in various subprojects of LLVM, and some of the current users of the code. All LLVM releases may be downloaded from the LLVM releases web site.

For more information about LLVM, including information about the latest release, please check out the main LLVM web site. If you have questions or comments, the LLVM Developer’s Mailing List is a good place to send them.

Minimum Required Compiler Version

As discussed on the mailing list, building LLVM will soon require more recent toolchains as follows:

Clang 3.5
Apple Clang 6.0
GCC 5.1
Visual Studio 2017

A new CMake check when configuring LLVM provides a soft-error if your toolchain will become unsupported soon. You can opt out of the soft-error by setting the LLVM_TEMPORARILY_ALLOW_OLD_TOOLCHAIN CMake variable to ON.

Known Issues

These are issues that couldn’t be fixed before the release. See the bug reports for the latest status.

  • PR40547 Clang gets miscompiled by trunk GCC.
  • PR40761 “asan-dynamic” doesn’t work on FreeBSD.

Non-comprehensive list of changes in this release

  • The llvm-cov tool can now export lcov trace files using the -format=lcov option of the export command.
  • The add_llvm_loadable_module CMake macro has been removed. The add_llvm_library macro with the MODULE argument now provides the same functionality. See Writing an LLVM Pass.
  • For MinGW, references to data variables that might need to be imported from a dll are accessed via a stub, to allow the linker to convert it to a dllimport if needed.
  • Added support for labels as offsets in .reloc directive.
  • Support for precise identification of X86 instructions with memory operands, by using debug information. This supports profile-driven cache prefetching. It is enabled with the -x86-discriminate-memops LLVM Flag.
  • Support for profile-driven software cache prefetching on X86. This is part of a larger system, consisting of: an offline cache prefetches recommender, AutoFDO tooling, and LLVM. In this system, a binary compiled with -x86-discriminate-memops is run under the observation of the recommender. The recommender identifies certain memory access instructions by their binary file address, and recommends a prefetch of a specific type (NTA, T0, etc) be performed at a specified fixed offset from such an instruction’s memory operand. Next, this information needs to be converted to the AutoFDO syntax and the resulting profile may be passed back to the compiler with the LLVM flag -prefetch-hints-file, together with the exact same set of compilation parameters used for the original binary. More information is available in the RFC.
  • Windows support for libFuzzer (x86_64).

Changes to the LLVM IR

  • Function attribute speculative_load_hardening has been introduced to allow indicating that Speculative Load Hardening must be enabled for the function body.

Changes to the AArch64 Target

  • Support for Speculative Load Hardening has been added.
  • Initial support for the Tiny code model, where code and its statically defined symbols must live within 1MB of each other.
  • Added support for the .arch_extension assembler directive, just like on ARM.

Changes to the Hexagon Target

  • Added support for Hexagon/HVX V66 ISA.

Changes to the MIPS Target

  • Improved support of GlobalISel instruction selection framework.
  • Implemented emission of R_MIPS_JALR and R_MICROMIPS_JALR relocations. These relocations provide hints to a linker for optimization of jumps to protected symbols.
  • ORC JIT has been supported for MIPS and MIPS64 architectures.
  • Assembler now suggests alternative MIPS instruction mnemonics when an invalid one is specified.
  • Improved support for MIPS N32 ABI.
  • Added new instructions (pll.ps, plu.ps, cvt.s.pu, cvt.s.pl, cvt.ps, sigrie).
  • Numerous bug fixes and code cleanups.

Changes to the PowerPC Target

  • Switched to non-PIC default
  • Deprecated Darwin support
  • Enabled Out-of-Order scheduling for P9
  • Better overload rules for compatible vector type parameter
  • Support constraint ‘wi’, modifier ‘x’ and VSX registers in inline asm
  • More __float128 support
  • Added new builtins like vector int128 pack/unpack and stxvw4x.be/stxvd2x.be
  • Provided significant improvements to the automatic vectorizer
  • Code-gen improvements (especially for Power9)
  • Fixed some long-standing bugs in the back end
  • Added experimental prologue/epilogue improvements
  • Enabled builtins tests in compiler-rt
  • Add ___fixunstfti/floattitf in compiler-rt to support conversion between IBM double-double and unsigned int128
  • Disable randomized address space when running the sanitizers on Linux ppc64le
  • Completed support in LLD for ELFv2
  • Enabled llvm-exegesis latency mode for PPC

Changes to the X86 Target

  • Machine model for AMD bdver2 (Piledriver) CPU was added. It is used to support instruction scheduling and other instruction cost heuristics.
  • New AVX512F gather and scatter intrinsics were added that take a <X x i1> mask instead of a scalar integer. This removes the need for a bitcast in IR. The new intrinsics are named like the old intrinsics with llvm.avx512. replaced with llvm.avx512.mask.. The old intrinsics will be removed in a future release.
  • Added cascadelake as a CPU name for -march. This is skylake-avx512 with the addition of the avx512vnni instruction set.
  • ADCX instruction will no longer be emitted. This instruction is rarely better than the legacy ADC instruction and just increased code size.

Changes to the WebAssembly Target

The WebAssembly target is no longer “experimental”! It’s now built by default, rather than needing to be enabled with LLVM_EXPERIMENTAL_TARGETS_TO_BUILD.

The object file format and core C ABI are now considered stable. That said, the object file format has an ABI versioning capability, and one anticipated use for it will be to add support for returning small structs as multiple return values, once the underlying WebAssembly platform itself supports it. Additionally, multithreading support is not yet included in the stable ABI.

Changes to the Nios2 Target

  • The Nios2 target was removed from this release.

Changes to LLDB

  • Printed source code is now syntax highlighted in the terminal (only for C languages).
  • The expression command now supports tab completing expressions.

External Open Source Projects Using LLVM 8

LDC - the LLVM-based D compiler

D is a language with C-like syntax and static typing. It pragmatically combines efficiency, control, and modeling power, with safety and programmer productivity. D supports powerful concepts like Compile-Time Function Execution (CTFE) and Template Meta-Programming, provides an innovative approach to concurrency and offers many classical paradigms.

LDC uses the frontend from the reference compiler combined with LLVM as backend to produce efficient native code. LDC targets x86/x86_64 systems like Linux, OS X, FreeBSD and Windows and also Linux on ARM and PowerPC (32/64 bit). Ports to other architectures like AArch64 and MIPS64 are underway.

Zig Programming Language

Zig is a system programming language intended to be an alternative to C. It provides high level features such as generics, compile time function execution, and partial evaluation, while exposing low level LLVM IR features such as aliases and intrinsics. Zig uses Clang to provide automatic import of .h symbols, including inline functions and simple macros. Zig uses LLD combined with lazily building compiler-rt to provide out-of-the-box cross-compiling for all supported targets.

Additional Information

A wide variety of additional information is available on the LLVM web page, in particular in the documentation section. The web page also contains versions of the API documentation which is up-to-date with the Subversion version of the source code. You can access versions of these documents specific to this release by going into the llvm/docs/ directory in the LLVM tree.

If you have any questions or comments about LLVM, please feel free to contact us via the mailing lists.