Книга: Embedded Linux Primer: A Practical, Real-World Approach

7.2.4. Execution Context

7.2.4. Execution Context

The other primary reason for bootloader image complexity is the lack of execution context. When the sequence of instructions from Listing 7-3 starts executing (recall that these are the first machine instructions after power-on), the resources available to the running program are nearly zero. Default values designed into the hardware ensure that fetches from Flash memory work properly and that the system clock has some default values, but little else can be assumed.[57] The reset state of each processor is usually well defined by the manufacturer, but the reset state of a board is defined by the hardware designers.

Indeed, most processors have no DRAM available at startup for temporary storage of variables or, worse, for a stack that is required to use C program calling conventions. If you were forced to write a "Hello World" program with no DRAM and, therefore, no stack, it would be quite different from the traditional "Hello World" example.

This limitation places significant challenges on the initial body of code designed to initialize the hardware. As a result, one of the first tasks the bootloader performs on startup is to configure enough of the hardware to enable at least some minimal amount of RAM. Some processors designed for embedded use have small amounts of on-chip static RAM available. This is the case with the PPC 405GP we've been discussing. When RAM is available, a stack can be allocated using part of that RAM, and a proper context can be constructed to run higher-level languages such as C. This allows the rest of the processor and platform initialization to be written in something other than assembly language.

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