The content of this blog is my personal opinion only. Although I am an employee - currently of Nvidia, in the past of other companies such as Iagination Technologies, MIPS, Intellectual Ventures, Intel, AMD, Motorola, and Gould - I reveal this only so that the reader may account for any possible bias I may have towards my employer's products. The statements I make here in no way represent my employer's position, nor am I authorized to speak on behalf of my employer. In fact, this posting may not even represent my personal opinion, since occasionally I play devil's advocate.

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Tuesday, February 22, 2022

RISC-V extension names considered harmful

This is a special case of "stupid nonhuman friendly names considered harmful".

 RISC-V, like any instruction set, as extension. The extensions need names.  The current standard names are stupid and human unfriendly.

 For example, I  just now see email that talks about "working through the process to move Svnapot aka the former Zsn to public review".   I am the guy who originated the RISC-V NAPOT proposal for large pages.  *I*  had to do a double take to parse Svnapot -  but at least "NAPOT" appeared in there somewhere, after I mentally parsed Svanapot into S.v.napot, where  S = system, v = virtual memory, ...

 The earlier name Zsn,  I could never remember - and, again, I contributed the term NAPOT  to the virtual memory discussion.

Stupidly short and obscure names had friction. They waste mind share.

 other RISC-V extension names include





Some of these you can guess about what they  apply to.

 Ag comment: have verbose and compact names

Z-atomic-memory-operations ==> Zam

 and so on


 Did I mention that 1 of the reasons given for short  obscure extension names was that they needed to fit within 8 or whatever characters on the command line processor for compiler?   

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