Linker shrinks RISC-V application size

Linker shrinks RISC-V application size

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By Nick Flaherty

The RISC-V Summit has highlighted the growth of the ecosystem for the open instruction set acrchitecture.

The latest addition to Embedded Studio for RISC-V from German tool vendor Segger is a custom Linker in addition to the GNU linker. This is based on the same code as the Segger Linker for ARM, adding integrated integrity check generation with a number of algorithms (CRCs and hashes), the ability to automatically place code and data in non-contiguous regions, and the ability to prioritize data into fast memories.

To achieve this improvement in code density, the RISC-V linker uses a combination of various optimization strategies. Such techniques include ordering code and data in the most efficient way to use short addressing modes, as well as replacing code sequences with more efficient ones, along with the use of spring-boarding technologies.

“This new version of Embedded Studio for RISC-V sets a new standard. The code size reduction achieved by the new linker is astonishing,” said Rolf Segger, founder. “In combination with the included startup code, runtime library and floating-point library emFloat, which are all highly optimized for RISC-V, it is amazing how small and efficient the resulting RISC-V programs can be. Simply re-linking your application with the Segger Linker can reduce code size.”

The Embedded Studio is a complete solution for any RISC-V based processor, and comes with a runtime library that is optimized for embedded systems with its own compiler as well as the GCC and LLVM/Clang tool-chains. Embedded Studio is platform independent and can be used on Windows, macOS and Linux hosts. A ‘Friendly’ licensing model allows unlimited evaluation with no code size limit and free of charge use for non-commercial purposes.

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