[TUHS] Plan 9 assembly syntax design history?

Anthony Martin ality at pbrane.org
Wed Nov 4 07:49:27 AEST 2020

Robert Clausecker <fuz at fuz.su> once said:
> While I am aware of Rob's talk [1] on the basic design ideas
> and have read both the Plan 9 [2] and Go [3] assembler
> manuals, many aspects of the design (such as the strange way
> to specify static data) are unclear and seem poorly
> documented.
> [...]
> [1]: https://talks.golang.org/2016/asm.slide
> [2]: https://9p.io/sys/doc/asm.html
> [3]: https://golang.org/doc/asm

Note that the Plan 9 compilers do not actually generate
machine code. They build an intermediate abstract object
code that the linkers then translate into machine code.

The syntax used by the assemblers is essentially a textual
representation of that intermediate code. If you want to
understand the design and it's idiosyncrasies, focus on the


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