Itanium® Software Conventions and Runtime Architecture Guide
This document describes common software conventions for the Itanium® architecture. It does not define operating-system interfaces or any conventions specific to any single operating system.
The runtime architecture defines most of the conventions necessary to compile, link, and execute a program on an operating system that supports these conventions. Its purpose is to ensure that object modules produced by different compilers can be linked together into a single application, and to specify the interfaces between compilers and linker, and between linker and operating system.
The runtime architecture does not specify the Application Programming Interface (API), the set of services provided by the operating system to the program, nor does it specify certain conventions that are specific to each operating system. Thus, conformance to the runtime architecture alone is not sufficient to produce a program that will execute on all Itanium architecture platforms. It does, however, allow many of the development tools to be shared among various operating systems.
When combined with the instruction set architecture, an API, and system-specific conventions, this runtime architecture leads to an Application Binary Interface (ABI). In other words, an ABI is comprised of an API, system-specific conventions, a hardware description, and a runtime architecture.
Objectives of the Runtime Architecture
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