Re: [cc65] Fwd: [cc65-devel] strange results with pointers

From: Ullrich von Bassewitz <>
Date: 2013-08-10 14:44:42

On Fri, Aug 09, 2013 at 09:17:20PM +0200, Oliver Schmidt wrote:
> Just in case someone on this list is interested ...

Assuming that this addresses me:

> From: Greg King <>
> It is a cc65 bug.  The expression "temp + *ptr" is promoted to unsigned int
> instead of signed int.

This is correct and has already been reported some time ago. The old version
of cc65 does implict conversion of integers wrong: While the standard says
that an unsigned char should be promoted to int if an int can represent all
values of an unsigned char, and similar for promotion from unsigned to long,
cc65 promotes unsigned types to unsigned types of the larger range. That is,
unsigned char is promoted to unsigned and unsigned to unsigned long.

This can be easily tested. The following code should promote the operands to
integer and produce a signed result, but if you look at the generated
assembly, it uses the runtime routine for unsigneds, which generate an
unsigned result:

    int main (void)
        unsigned char c = 2;
        unsigned u = 2;
        int a = -2;
        long l = -2;

        /* Generated code should use tosmulax but uses tosumulax */
        int r = c * a;
        /* Generated code should use tosmuleax but uses tosumuleax */
        long lr = u * l;

        return 0;

While in the examples above, this has no ill effects, and is therefore only
visible by looking at the generated code, there are other places, were the
compiler gets tests wrong (as in your example) or produces invalid calculation
results. For example (from the original bug report):

    long n = -95;
    unsigned int d = 3;
    int r = n/d; // produces 21813 instead of 31

A workaround is to manually force usage of the correct type:

    int r = n / (long) d;

The disadvantage being that one must really understand the nature of the bug
to apply the proper casts.

A fix is possible with not too much effort (needs rewrite of two functions in
the compiler), but introduces two other problems.

One is that fixed code has a higher chance to trigger an error in the
optimizer which causes invalid code transformations. This optimizer problem
does actually exist without the fix, but chances for triggering it are rather

The second problem is that fixing the conversions will have a negative impact
on code quality. The reason are the integer promotions: The C standard says
that operands to most binary operators must be converted to int. If this
conversion is done to signed instead of unsigned, most operations on char will
actually operate on signed ints. And on 6502 machines, code for a signed
operation is usually larger and slower than the same code for an unsigned

So if you have plans to solve the issue, be at least prepared to have a
thorough look at the generated code.



Ullrich von Bassewitz                        
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Received on Sat Aug 10 14:44:49 2013

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