New ORC v2 LLJIT - global variables

We are trying to switch to the new orc v2 lljit engine at my work with hopes of parallel jitting. We are switching from the ExecutionEngine w/ OrcMCJitReplacement. We are having a hard time with global variables. We have found a way to create/emit new globals during jitting by using the old ExecutionEngine::getOrEmitGlobalVariable. Is there an easier way to do this with the new jit engine? We were hoping to create a new ThreadSafeModule, add a GlobalVariable, and then add the module to the JIT engine through addLazyIRModule(), but this doesn’t seem to work.

2nd question; Is the lookup function supposed to work with global variables by name? Looking through the CompileOnDemandLayer it seems to change the names of globals to “__orc_lcl.”. Does this affect the lookup methods? I noticed that all of the globals we are looking for are tagged with Internal linkage and end up getting emitted through extractSubModule().

Any help is appreciated.

+Lang Hames, Admiral of the Orcish Fleet (Lang’s the primary developer/creator of the ORC JIT & might have some answers to your question)

Hi Chris,

You approach to emit globals seems correct to me, there is also a possibility that unused globals being removed. Could you please describe your problem?

For question 2:
You can lookup the globals with their source name, besides ORC do internal interning of Symbols.

Hi Chris,

Thanks so much for the quick help. I was able to find them after changing the linkage. Does this new orc JIT follow different standards than the MCJitReplacement? We used to set a lot of our functions/globals to internal linkage before doing a lookup.

They are different: ORCv2 follows the static linker’s lookup rules, whereas MCJITReplacement mimicked MCJIT’s rules which were never clearly spelled out, but in practice allowed you to search for internal symbols.

The advantage of the new scheme is that if you are compiling/running something on the command line. E.g.:

$ llc -filetype=obj -o extra.o extra.ll
$ llc -filetype=obj -o prog.o prog.ll
$ clang -o prog prog.o extra.o
$ ./prog

Then you can add the same modules to the JIT and expect the resulting JIT’d code to behave the same as the statically compiled code. E.g. (omitting some error handling for clarity):

auto Main = (int(*)())J->lookup(“main”).getAddress();

If you are generating code specifically for the JIT it is often easiest to just use external linkage and default visibility for all symbols. However, for people who want to hook up an existing front-end, or to use more advanced features in their JIT (duplicate symbol names with internal linkage, symbols with weak linkage, hidden visibility, etc.) this scheme has the nice property that “What does linker-feature X do in the JIT?” is more-or-less equivalent to “What does linker-feature X do in a regular build”. The answer to the latter question is generally more widely known, and is much easier to test from the command line.

When adding a new module with a single global variable in it, I get an error during the addLazyIRModule.

Are you hitting an assertion, or is addLazyIRModule returning a non-success value? If the latter, what is the error message?
(You can find this by calling ‘logAllUnhandledErrors(std::move(Err), errs(), “”)’, or, in tool code, using the ExitOnError utility:

Right now we are treating the module as one big single module, and when we go to lookup a symbol, I believe we are jitting the entire thing. Once we make the switch to LLLazyJIT, we want to start splitting up our modules.

If you are using MCJITReplacement you are definitely JITing the whole module up-front, and in that case lazy compilation may help reduce your compile time. I’d love to hear how it works for you!


Hi Chris,

Thanks for clarifying that. That makes sense.

So I apologize. It was not an error I got on the AddLazyIRModule. The issue is actually after I call AddLazyIRModule(). Performing a lookup on that global variable causes a hang. I’ve stepped through the debugger, and it seems to hang inside Core.cpp, ExecutionSession::lookup().

Are you (a) trying to JIT concurrently and (b) loading all modules on the same ThreadSafeContext? Notionally you should be able to do both, but in my experience bugs in this area are the most frequent source of deadlocks in lookup.

Are you able to get a backtrace for each thread in the debugger while the lookup is deadlocked? If you’re using LLDB you can use “thread list” to list the threads, “thread select N” to switch to each, and “bt” to get the backtrace. I am not sure what the equivalent commands in GDB are. Either way, the lookup thread is the least interesting one: I expect to see some other thread waiting on a context lock, and the thing we really want to know is who owns the lock and how did they end up blocking while holding it.

Are you able to share any of your code / test cases?


Prior to r367686, ORCv2 took out a lock on the context when a module was emitted and did not relinquish it until that module had been fully emitted. The problem with that is that if the module being emitted has dependencies on other modules living on the same

Hi Chris,

  1. Using the addIRModule method for adding new global variables, I’m having to set them to external linkage, so that they can be found during lookup. One issue with this, is I have to manually loop through all the underlying globals/functions and change their linkage to external as well. If I don’t do that, I’ll get a JIT Session Error about not being able to find the underlying globals/functions. Is there an easy way to set all of the underlying globals/functions to external linkage as well?

There is no “change all linkages” convenience function, you just have to loop over all the global values and set them individually. If you’re doing that though there’s likely a design issue somewhere else: In general languages will define which symbols get external linkage and which do not, and the front-end should set up the linkages for you: you shouldn’t need to modify linkages in order to add something to the JIT. E.g. If you have the following in C:

static void foo(void) { }
void bar(void) { foo(); }

then clang will translate that to:

define internal void @foo() { … }
define void @bar() { … }

This IR, with foo having internal linkage and bar external, can be added to a JITDylib as-is and will result in one visible definition: bar. (ORC can handle internal symbols just fine, they just don’t appear in the public interface for the JITDylib because that’s what internal linkage means: visible only from within the module).

The two main exceptions to the “you shouldn’t need to promote linkage yourself” rule are:

(1) Debuggers / REPLs, where you want to give a user the ability to call directly into what would usually be an internal function. In that case you should only need to promote the linkage on the internal symbols that you want the user to be able to access. If that’s everything, then promote everything. If that’s only certain functions/variables then just promote those functions/variables.

(2) Manually breaking up modules: If you want to perform more fine grained or parallel compilation you may choose to break up large modules. In that case you need to promote internal symbols to external-hidden symbols so that they can still be resolved across the new module boundaries. You will usually have to rename them to avoid clashes too. If you’re using LLLazyJIT though you don’t need to worry: all the symbol promoting and renaming required for lazy compilation is taken care of internally.

So: Why is your front-end producing internal definitions for symbols that you want to be able to call in the JIT? Should your front-end be producing external definitions?

  1. We’ve had this problem ever since we switched to OrcMCJitReplacement. When jitting code on linux, we have to comment the body of registerEHFrames(). If we don’t, then any exceptions that are thrown in jitted code will result in a segfault. Do you know what issue we might be running into here? RuntimeDyIdELF::registerEHFrames() is commented out for new LLJIT. OrcMCJitReplacement::registerEHFrames when using OrcMCJitReplacement.

registerEHFrames is supposed to register the __eh_frames section with libunwind. I know that RuntimeDyldMachO’s __eh_frame support was weak, and would often result in registering broken frames. I don’t know RuntimeDyldELF’s __eh_frame support code well, but from a glance I suspect it suffers the same problems. That is almost certainly why your code is segfaulting when exceptions are thrown: the JIT is registering broken frames.

The poor quality of RuntimeDyld’s exception handling is why I turned it off by default. The new JIT linker (JTILink) has much better eh_frame support, but unfortunately there is no ELF JITLink implementation yet.

The upshot of all this is that at the moment it’s not safe in general to throw exceptions from/through JIT’d code on ELF. I’m hoping that JITLink ELF variants will solve this eventually, but there’s no clear timeline for that work.

– Lang.

Hi Lang,

Thanks for the info. I think we have issues with all of the JIT “prep” work we are currently doing around changing linkage for symbols before jitting. I believe this was done to work with the OrcMCJitReplacement, but it doesn’t seem compatible with the new LLJIT. I will look into it further. On second point, we will just turn it off for now.


Hi Chris,

Thanks for the info. I think we have issues with all of the JIT “prep” work we are currently doing around changing linkage for symbols before jitting. I believe this was done to work with the OrcMCJitReplacement, but it doesn’t seem compatible with the new LLJIT. I will look into it further. On second point, we will just turn it off for now.

Sounds good to me. Hopefully JITLink will evolve ELF support in the not-too-distant future and we will be able to re-enable exception handling.