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x86 Assembly Language FAQ - General Part II

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x86 Assembly Language FAQ - General Part II
From: fys_at_cybertrails.com (Ben Lunt)
Subject: x86 Assembly Language FAQ - General Part 2 of 3
Supersedes: <89sf4a$stn$6@news.dgsys.com>
Followup-To: alt.lang.asm,comp.lang.asm.x86
Date: 3 Mar 2004 23:04:44 MST
Organization: Forever Young Software
Lines: 1212
Approved: news-answers-request@MIT.EDU
Distribution: world
Expires: Tue, 22 Jun 2004 23:59:59 GMT
Message-ID: <8b8v6c$n7i$6@news.dgsys.com>
Reply-To: fys@cybertrails.com
Summary: This is the FAQ for the x86 Assembly Language programmers for the
alt.lang.asm and comp.lang.asm.x86 newsgroups. This particular section of the
FAQ is part two of three parts that contain x86 assembly language information
common to all assemblers.
Keywords: x86 Assembly Language ASM FAQ General

See reader questions & answers on this topic! - Help others by sharing your knowledge
Archive-Name: assembly-language/x86/general/part2
Posting-Frequency: monthly (21st of every month)
Last-modified: 2004/03/03
------------------------------


Subject: 15. Accessing 4 Gigs of Memory in Real Mode
Flat real mode is a popular name for a technique used to access up to 4
GB of memory, while remaining in real mode.  This technique requires a
80386 or higher processor.  The address space really is not flat.
Actually, this technique allows you treat one or more segments as large
(32-bit) segments, thereby accessing memory above 1 MB.

When the CPU accesses memory, the base address of the segment used is
not described by the value currently in the appropriate register.  The
value is stored internally in a structure known as the descriptor cache.
Changing the value of a segment register results in that segment's entry
in the descriptor cache being recalculated according to the rules of the
current mode.  In real mode, the value of the segment register is
shifted left four bits to find the base address of the segment, and the
size of the segment is always 64k.  In protected mode, the value in the
segment register is used as an index into a descriptor table located in
memory, and the base address and size (which may be as small as 4 KB, or
as large as 4 GB) from the descriptor table are loaded into the
descriptor cache.

When the processor changes modes, the contents of the processor's
internal descriptor cache are not changed.  The reason is because
changing them would result in (at the very least) the code segment being
recalculated according to the new mode's rules, most likely causing your
program to crash.  Thus the program must load the segment registers with
sensible values after the mode switch occurs.  Consider an example where
real mode code is located in segment 1000h.  If switching modes caused
an immediate recalculation of the descriptor cache, the processor would
attempt to read entry 1000h of the descriptor table immediately upon
switching to protected mode.  Even if this were a valid descriptor
(unlikely), it would have to have a base address identical to real mode
segment 1000h (i.e., 10000h), and a size limit of 64 KB to prevent a
probable crash.  An invalid descriptor would cause an immediate
processor exception.

Normally, aside from preventing situations like that in the above
example, there is little to be said about this feature.  After all, as
soon as you reload new values into the segment register, the descriptor
cache entry for that segment will be reset according to the rules of the
current mode.  After switching from protected mode to real mode,
however, when you load the segment registers with their new values, the
segment's base address is recalculated according to real mode rules, but
the size limit is not changed.  After setting the 4 GB limit (which must
be done in protected mode), it will stay in place until changed by
another protected mode program, regardless of what values are loaded in
the segment register in real mode.

So, the steps to using this technique are as follows:
    1.  Set up a bare bones global descriptor table, with a null entry,
and a single entry for a 4 GB segment.  The base address of this segment
is not important.
    2.  If you don't wish to define an interrupt descriptor table (IDT),
you must disable interrupts before switching to protected mode.  You do
not need a full-fledged protected mode environment for this, so it is
easiest just to disable interrupts and not worry about the IDT.
    3.  Switch to protected mode.
    4.  Load the segment registers you wish to change with the selector
for the 4 GB segment.  I recommend using FS and/or GS for this purpose,
for reasons I'll describe below.
    5.  Return to real mode.
    6.  Re-enable interrupts.

After these steps, you can then load your segment registers with any
value you wish.  Keep in mind that the base address will be calculated
according to real mode rules.  Loading a value of 0 into a segment
register will result in a 4 GB segment beginning at physical address 0.
You can use any of the usual 32-bit registers to generate offsets into
this segment.

Some points to keep in mind:
    1.  Some software depends on 64 KB segment wrap-around.  While rare,
it is possible that you will encounter software that crashes if the
older segments (DS or ES) are 4 GB in size.  For that reason, I
recommend only using FS and/or GS for this purpose, as they are not used
as widely as the others.
    2.  You should never change the limit of the code segment.  The
processor uses IP (not EIP) to generate offsets into the code segment in
real mode; any code beyond the 64 KB mark would be inaccessible,
regardless of the segment size.
    3.  You should never change the limit of the stack segment.  This is
similar to the above; the processor uses SP in real mode, rather than
ESP.
    4.  Because of the necessity of switching to protected mode, this
technique will not work in a virtual 8086 mode "DOS box" from Windows,
OS/2, or any other protected mode environment.  It only works when you
start from plain, real mode DOS.  Many memory managers also run DOS in
V86 mode, and prevent the switch to protected mode.  It is possible to
use VCPI to work around this, but if you go to that length you will
probably find that you have implemented a complete protected mode
environment, and would not need to return to real mode anyway.
    5.  This technique will not work in the presence of any protected
mode software that changes segment size limits.  When that software
returns control to your real mode program, the limits will be the values
to which the protected mode code set them.  If these limits are
different that what your program used, problems can result.  At the very
least, your program will return incorrect results when accessing data
stored in extended memory.  At worst, your program will crash and burn.

The benefits of this technique are many.  Most importantly, you can
access extended memory without resorting to slow BIOS calls or having to
implement a complete DOS extender.  If your program uses interrupts
extensively (timer interrupts for animation or sound, for example), real
mode is a better choice because protected mode handles interrupts
slower.  DOS itself uses this technique in HIMEM.SYS as a fast,
practical method of providing access to extended memory.

Code demonstrating this technique is available:

http://sunsite.lanet.lv/ftp/mirror/x2ftp/msdos/programming/memory/realmem.zip

For further reading on this topic, I suggest "DOS Internals," by Geoff
Chappell.  It is published by Addison-Wesley as part of the Andrew
Schulman Programming Series.  The ISBN number is 0-201-60835-9.

Contributor: Sherm Pendley, grinch@access.mountain.net
Last changed: 03 Mar 2004

Return to the Table Of Contents------------------------------
Subject: 16. What Is Available at developer.intel.com
16.1  PENTIUM & PENTIUM PRO INFORMATION

The gateway for information on the Pentium family of processors at Intel
are:

    http://developer.intel.com/design/pentium
    http://developer.intel.com/design/pro
    http://developer.intel.com/design/pentiumiii/

Information linked to this page is:  Application Notes, Datasheets,
Manuals, Specification Updates, and much more.

16.2  INTEL DEVELOPMENT TOOLS

The below page has links to software, hardware, evaluation kits and
documentation on Intel OEM products.  Areas covered are Intel Software
Performance Products, Internet Technologies, Multimedia and Intel
Products.

    http://developer.intel.com/design/develop.htm

16.3  INTEL TECHNOLOGIES

Intel has overviews, in-depth system architecture tutorials and
specifications on a variety of PC platform and communications
technologies.  Areas covered are MMX Technology, Intelligent I/O,
WinSock 2, and much more.

    http://developer.intel.com/design/tech.htm

16.4  GET INTEL'S WEB SITE ON CDROM

You can no longer order the following CDROM's.

Have you been spending a long time on line downloading one of the many
manuals available from Intel's Developer Web Site.  Now you can get the
entire Technology and Product portions of that web site available on
CDROM.  You access the CDROMs with your browser.  It now takes longer to
launch the Acrobat reader than to download a meg .pdf file.  With the
Aug 98 version, the package includes three CD-ROMs:  Products and
Product Selectors; Tools and Motherboards; and Technologies.

Unfortunately Intel has stopped this service.  See
    http://developer.intel.com/design/litcentr/cdorder.htm
for a reason why.

However, it seems that you can still get the last version issued.

The last version was May 1999.  It appears that you can still order it at:


http://apps.intel.com/scripts-order/viewbasket.asp?SKURev=273000_011&site=developer&LNavFile=TRUE

16.5  Intel 80386 Programmer's Reference Manual

This is a very popular Intel Manual that is no longer available for
downloading from Intel.  Luigi Sgro has translated it into HTML and is
available:

    http://www.baldwin.cx/386htm/toc.htm

Contributor: Raymond Moon, raymoon@moonware.dgsys.com
Last changed: 03 Mar 2004

Return to the Table Of Contents------------------------------
Subject: 17. Interrupts and Exceptions
    "(with interrupts) the processor doesn't waste its time looking for
    work - when there is something to be done, the work comes looking
    for the processor."
                - Peter Norton

INTERRUPTS AND EXCEPTIONS

Interrupts and exceptions both alter the program flow. The difference
between the two is that interrupts are used to handle external events
(serial ports, keyboard) and exceptions are used to handle instruction
faults, (division by zero, undefined opcode).

Interrupts are handled by the processor after finishing the current
instruction. If it finds a signal on its interrupt pin, it will look up
the address of the interrupt handler in the interrupt table and pass
that routine control.  After returning from the interrupt handler
routine, it will resume program execution at the instruction after the
interrupted instruction.

Exceptions on the other hand are divided into three kinds.  These are
Faults, Traps and Aborts.  Faults are detected and serviced by the
processor before the faulting instructions.  Traps are serviced after
the instruction causing the trap.  User defined interrupts go into this
category and can be said to be traps; this includes the MS-DOS INT 21h
software interrupt, for example.  Aborts are used only to signal severe
system problems, when operation is no longer possible.

See the below table for information on interrupt assignments in the
Intel 386, 486 SX/DX processors, and the Pentium processor.  Type
specifies the type of exception.

    ------------------------------
    Vector number   Description
    ------------------------------
           0        Divide Error (Division by zero)
           1        Debug Interrupt (Single step)
           2        NMI Interrupt
           3        Breakpoint
           4        Interrupt on overflow
           5        BOUND range exceeded
           6        Invalid Opcode
           7        Device not available (1)
           8        Double fault
           9        Not used in DX models and Pentium (2)
          10        Invalid TSS
          11        Segment not present
          12        Stack exception
          13        General protection fault
          14        Page fault
          15        Reserved
          16        Floating point exception (3)
          17        Alignment check (4)
     18 - 31        Reserved on 3/486, See (5) for Pentium
    32 - 255        Maskable, user defined interrupts
    ------------------------------
    (1) Exception 7 is used to signal that a floating point processor is
        not present in the SX model. Exception 7 is used for programs
        and OSs that have floating point emulation. In addition, the DX
        chips can be set to trap floating point instructions by setting
        bit 2 of CR0.
    (2) Exception 9 is Reserved in the DX models and the Pentium, and is
        only used in the 3/486 SX models to signal Coprocessor segment
        overrun.  This will cause an Abort type exception on the SX.
    (3) In the SX models this exception is called 'Coprocessor error'.
    (4) Alignment check is only defined in 486 and Pentiums.  Reserved
        on any other Intel processor.
    (5) For Pentiums Exception 18 is used to signal what is called an
        'Machine check exception'.
    The other interrupts, (32-255) are user defined.  They differ in use
    from one OS to another.

For a list of MS-DOS interrupts, see 'Obtaining HELPPC' (Subject #6) or
Ralf Browns Interrupt List (Subject #11)

Contributor: Patrik Ohman, patrik@astrakan.hgs.se
Last changed: 03 Mar 2004

Return to the Table Of Contents------------------------------
Subject: 18. ASM Books Available
The format is Author, Title, Level, and short description

Ray Duncan
Advanced MSDOS Programming
Advanced
Both a tutorial and a reference for MS-DOS capabilities and services,
including reference sections on DOS function calls, IBM ROM BIOS, mouse
driver and LAM. expanded memory. Excellent quality example programs
throughout.

By Peter Norton and John Socha
Peter Norton's Assembly Language Book For the IBM PC
Novice
Good for an introduction to Assembly Language.  Plenty of programming
examples.  Older versions of this book used to have a sample disk.  As
you read the book, you slowly add on code to what eventually is Disk
Patch - the book's version of Norton's commercially available Disk Edit
program.   Great for complete beginners seeking novice rank.

Maljugin, Izrailevich, Sopin, and Lavin
The Revolutionary Guide to Assembly Language
Novice
This is one of the best introductory texts I have ever seen.  There are
so many authors that the topic is broken down into specific categories:
video, BIOS, keyboard, etc..  Most intro texts force you to follow a set
plan of learning assembly, but in this book you can turn to a specific
t0pic almost immediately.  It is so-so as a reference book, however - a
few tables of interrupts in the back.

Maljugin, Izrailevich, Sopin, and Lavin
Master Class Assembly Language
Advanced
Review: This is the sequel to The Revolutionary Guide To Assembly
Language.  Equally thick and massive, it covers many of the topics we
see today - hardware interfaces, sound cards, data compression, even
protected mode programming.  Brief review of assembly at the beginning,
but moves very quickly.  Read this if you are intermediate seeking
expert status.  Definitely not recommended for beginners.  If you are a
beginner and you think you like the topics covered in this book, buy the
one before it too.  Also comes with a disk of source code examples from
the book (MASM highly recommended, not TASM).

Alan Wyatt
Advanced Assembly Language
Advanced
This book's best feature is its comprehensive guide on device drivers.
There are good chapters on controlling the mouse, file access, using
memory, etc.

Ralf Brown and Jim Kyle
PC Interrupts - 2nd Edition
Intermediate/Advanced
The definitive book on interrupt programming for PCS and compatibles.
Based on the freeware Interrupt List by Ralf Brown

For an extensive book list without descriptions, point your web browser
to:
    http://www.alaska.net/~rrose/book.htm [Broken]

Sites with more books (some with reviews) are:
    http://www.mavrahane.com/program/assembly/assembly/ass.htm#Books [Broken]
    http://www.cet.com/~jvahn/80xbook.html (short descriptions)
    http://www.cybertrails.com/~fys/books.htm
       (ASM books as well as General DOS programming books)

Contributors:  Antonio Alonso, Solomon Chang, Paul Gilbert, Dave
Navarro, Mike Schmit and James Vahn.

Last changed: 03 Mar 2004

Return to the Table Of Contents------------------------------
Subject: 19. ASM Code Available on the Internet
19.1  SIMTEL SITES

The SimTel has a directory devoted to assembly language.

    ftp://ftp.simtel.net/pub/simtelnet/msdos/asmutl
or
    http://www.simtel.net/category.php?id=16&SiteID=simtel.net

19.2  80xxx Snippets

Fidonet's echo for 80xxx programming has a collection of code that is
maintained by Jim Vahn, jvahn@short.circuit.com.  The collection is on
the web.  In addition to downloading the snippets there is an assembly
language related book list.  The URL is:

    http://www.cet.com/~jvahn

The ability to get these files via e-mail has been discontinued.

19.3  X2FTP.OULU.FI

This ftp site, x2ftp.oulu.fi, has some ASM source code not available at
the SIMTEL sites.  The following describes some directories and the type
of information that is available in them.

This server seems to be down, so I have included links using
one of its mirrors.

Protected mode utilities and some source code:
    ftp://x2ftp.oulu.fi/pub/msdos/programming/pmode
    [Mirrored at]
    http://sunsite.lanet.lv/ftp/mirror/x2ftp/msdos/programming/pmode

Some asm code:
    ftp://x2ftp.oulu.fi/pub/msdos/programming/source
    [Mirrored at]
    http://sunsite.lanet.lv/ftp/mirror/x2ftp/msdos/programming/source

    ftp://x2ftp.oulu.fi/pub/msdos/programming/progsrc
    [Mirrored at]
    http://sunsite.lanet.lv/ftp/mirror/x2ftp/msdos/programming/progsrc

19.4  JUMBO

It seems that JUMBO has dropped their DOS support.

19.5  THEREEF

I just found another site that carries this asm source code.  This site
has source code and information that I have not found elsewhere.

    http://marina.mfarris.com/theref/theref.html

19.6  PC GAMES PROGRAMMER ENCYCLOPEDIA

This encyclopedia is a collection of files related to game programming.
Many of these files contain programming examples.  Topics included are
ASM tutorial, VGA and SVGA programming information, graphic algorithms,
graphic file formats, soundcard and other PC hardware programming
information.  This encyclopedia is available online at the PC-GPE web
page:

    http://www.qzx.com/pc-gpe/
[Re-routed to:]
    http://brand107.home.comcast.net/pc-gpe/

19.7  PROGRAMMERS DISTRIBUTION NETWORK ASSEMBLY LANGUAGE FILES

These files appear to be a mirror of the assembly-related files
distributed on FidoNet by PDN.  There is one that is a must if you want
to write ASM WinNT and Win95 applications.  It is walk32_1.zip.  Walk32
is a complete app and dll development kit with linker and includes
files, libraries, tools, and many samples.  MASM 6.x required.

    http://www.programmersheaven.com/search/Download.asp?FileID=355

The page to all of Programmer's Heaven ASM files is:
    http://www.programmersheaven.com/zone5/index.htm

19.8  TENIE REMMEL'S ASSEMBLY SNIPPETS CODE COLLECTION

The Assembly Snippets is a large collection of assembly language code
and other information.  Many files from the original 80XXX snippets, the
ASM0-Z collection, and the Aquila site are included.  All code is 99%
guaranteed to compile under TASM.  This new release contains the
following items, among others:

  An object file disassembler       A 4971 byte Tetris game
  Several Conway LIFE programs      Assembly & Disassembly tables
  A demonstration of FakeMode       Several powerful editors
  A complete DOS extender           A Pentium optimization list
  A ModeX graphics library          Info for writing antivirus

You can download these rather large files from Programmer's Heaven:

http://www.programmersheaven.com/zone5/index.htm

Contributor: Raymond Moon, raymoon@moonware.dgsys.com
Last changed: 03 Mar 2004

Return to the Table Of Contents------------------------------
Subject: 20. How to Commit A File
The easiest solution is to open or create the file to be committed using
Int 21h function 6ch, extended open/create.  The BX register contains
the desired Open Mode.  One option that can be or'ed into this register
is what Microsoft calls, OPEN_FLAGS_COMMIT, that has the value of 4000h.
Using this option caused DOS to commit the file after each write.  This
function has been available (documented) since DOS 4.0.

If you do not want to commit the file at each write but only when
certain conditions are met, use Int 21h function 68h, commit file.  This
function has been available (documented) since DOS 3.3.

If you need to support versions of DOS before 3.3, the following
technique will flush the all stored data without closing and opening the
file.  The time consuming process is the opening of the file.
    1.  Use 21h function 45h to create a duplicate file handle to the
        file to be flushed.
    2.  Close that duplicate file handle.

This technique will work all the way back to DOS 2.0.

Contributor: Raymond Moon, raymoon@moonware.dgsys.com
Last changed: 03 Mar 2004

Return to the Table Of Contents------------------------------
Subject: 21. Using Extended Memory Manager
21.1  HOW TO USE XMS

XMS usage - short recipe:
1.  Verify have at least 286 (pushf; pop AX; test AX,AX; js error).
2.  Verify vector 2Fh set (DOS 3+ sets it during boot).
3.  AX=4300h, Int 2Fh, verify AL=80h (means XMS installed).
4.  AX=4310h, Int 2Fh, save ES:BX as dword XmsDriverAddr.
5.  AH=8, call [XmsDriverAddr] - returns ax=largest free XMS memory
    block size in kB (0 if error).
6.  AH=9, DX=required size in kB, call [XmsDriverAddr] - allocates
    memory (returns handle in DX - save it).
7.  AH=0Bh, DS:SI->structure {
        dword size (in bytes and must be even),
        word source_handle,
        dword source_offset,
        word destination_handle,
        dword destination_offset }
    (if any handle is 0, the "offset" is Real Mode segment:offset)
8.  AH=0Fh, BX=new size in kB, DX=handle, call [XmsDriverAddr] - changes
    memory block size (without losing previous data).
9.  AH=0Ah, DX=handle, call [XmsDriverAddr] - free handle and memory.

Initially, should process #1-#6, then can use #7 to put data in/get data
from XMS memory, or #8 to change XMS memory block size.  On exit, use #9
to free allocated memory and handle.

Hint:  handle cannot be 0, since zero is used as "no handle allocated"
value.
Errors for XMS calls (except AH=7 - Query A20) are signaled by AX=0.
Error code returned in BL, few codes can check for are:
    80h - not implemented,
    81h - VDISK detected (and it leaves no memory for XMS),
    82h - A20 error (e.g., fail to enable address line A20),
    A0h - all allocated,
    A1h - all handles used,
    A2h - invalid handle,
    A3h/A4h - bad source handle/offset,
    A5h/A6h - bad destination handle/offset,
    A7h - bad length,
    A8h - overlap (of source and destination areas on copy),
    A9h - parity error (hardware error in memory),
    Abh - block is locked,
    00h - OK

For more info read INT 2Fh, AH=43h in Ralf Brown interrupt list.

21.2  WHAT IS THE 'LINEAR BLOCK ADDRESS' RETURNED BY LOCK MEM BLOCK?

When you lock mem block, XMS driver arranges memory governed by it in a
way the locked block forms one contiguous area in linear address space
and returns you starting address of the memory.  Linear address is base
address of segment + offset in segment, in Real Mode it is
segment*16+offset, in Protected Mode the base address is kept in LDT or
GDT; note offset can be 32-bit on 386+.  If paging is not enabled,
linear address = physical address.  You do not need the linear address
unless you use 32-bit offsets in Real Mode or you use Protected Mode
(see previous answer for explanation of how you can access XMS memory).

Contributor: Jerzy Tarasiuk, JT@zfja-gate.fuw.edu.pl
Last changed: 03 Mar 2004

Return to the Table Of Contents------------------------------
Subject: 22. EXE2BIN Replacement
A utility, EXE2BIN, used to be included in DOS.  This utility was needed
to convert the output of the linker from .EXE to .COM format because the
linkers could not do this directly.  As linkers became more capable, the
need for this utility vanished, so EXE2BIN was dropped from DOS.  If you
still are using an older assembler and linker, you now have been left
out in the cold.  Well, not quite, as there are three shareware
equivalent programs.

22.1  EXECOM14.ZIP

EXECOM was written by Chris Dunford in C.  The .zip file contains the
executable, documentation and the .c source that Chris Dunford has
released into the public domain.  The current version is 1.04 with a
2 Mar 88 date.

    ftp://ftp.simtel.net/pub/simtelnet/msdos/asmutl/execom14.zip

22.2  BIN.ZIP

This replacement version was written by Bob Tevithick.  It is based upon
versions 1.00 of Chris Dunford's program.  The .zip file contains only
the executable and documentation.  No source is included.


    ftp://ftp.simtel.net/pub/simtelnet/msdos/asmutl/bin.zip

22.3  X2B11.ZIP

X2B is written in 100% assembly language by Henry Nettles.  Again, it is
based upon Chris Dunford's program.  The zip file contains the
executable and .asm source.  The documentation is in the source code.

    ftp://ftp.simtel.net/pub/simtelnet/msdos/asmutl/x2b11.zip

22.4  EXE2COM.ZIP

    http://www.cybertrails.com/~fys/zips/exe2com.zip

22.5  THE REAL THING, EXE2BIN.EXE

If you need the real thing, EXE2BIN.EXE is available on the DOS
Supplemental Diskettes.  These disks can be downloaded from Microsoft.

for MS DOS 6.0
    ftp://ftp.microsoft.com/peropsys/msdos/public/supplmnt/
for MS DOS 6.2
    ftp://ftp.microsoft.com/peropsys/msdos/public/supplmnt/
for MS DOS 6.21
    ftp://ftp.microsoft.com/peropsys/msdos/public/supplmnt/
for MS DOS 6.22
    ftp://ftp.microsoft.com/peropsys/msdos/public/supplmnt/

Contributor: Raymond Moon, raymoon@moonware.dgsys.com
Last changed: 03 Mar 2004

Return to the Table Of Contents------------------------------
Subject: 23. ASM Tutorials Available on the Internet
There are several assembly language tutorials available on the Internet.

23.1  FROM SIMTEL MIRRORS

>From the SimTel Mirrors, e.g., oak.oakland.edu, there are two tutorials
available in the simtel/msdos/asmutil directory.

    ftp://ftp.simtel.net/pub/simtelnet/msdos/asmutl/asmtutor.zip

The tutorial is by Joshua Averbach.  It is old, dated Jun 1988, and
designed for the 8088 processor.

    ftp://ftp.simtel.net/pub/simtelnet/msdos/asmutl/primer2.zip

This tutorial is designed specifically for the cheap assembler (CHASM)
also available in this directory.

23.2  GAVIN ESTEY'S TUTORIAL

A tutorial has been written by Gavin Estey.  He has provided his
tutorial in HTML format available at:

    http://burks.brighton.ac.uk/burks/language/asm/

23.3  VLA's ASSEMBLY LANGUAGE TUTORIAL

This tutorial is available directly or as part of the PC Games
Encyclopedia:

http://sunsite.lanet.lv/ftp/mirror/x2ftp/msdos/programming/gpe/pcgpe10.zip
or on-line at:
    http://brand107.home.comcast.net/pc-gpe/



23.4  ASM Tutorial on University of Guadalajara Web Site

The on-line tutorial is available:
    http://thsun1.jinr.ru/~alvladim/man/asm.html

23.5  RANDALL HYDE'S ART OF ASSEMBLY LANGUAGE

Randy Hyde's Assembly Language Course Material.  This in my opinion is
the best assembly language tutorial available on the Internet.

    http://webster.cs.ucr.edu/AoA/index.html

Do not miss his Assembly Language Style Guide.
    http://webster.cs.ucr.edu/Articles/asmstyle.pdf .pdf version
    http://webster.cs.ucr.edu/Articles/asmstyle.html HTML version

23.6  PATRICK STUDDARD'S ASSEMBLY CLASS NOTES

Patrick Studdard has a very extensive library of supplementary class
notes for assembly language.  These are available for all and not just
those who are taking the class.  They are available:


http://www.csis.american.edu/~studdard/classes/fall1995/4028201/notes/index.html
[Broken]

23.7  TORE NILSSON'S ASSEMBLY TUTORIAL PAGE

VLA's Assembly and DMA programming tutorials, Asphyxia's VGA tutorials,
and some graphics and sound programming information.

    http://www.ice-digga.com/programming/index2.html

23.8  HOMER TILTON'S ASSEMBLY LANGUAGE TUTORIAL

ZDNet offers an Assembly Language tutorial by Homer Tilton.  To find it,
use the following URL:

    http://www6.zdnet.com/cgi-bin/texis/swlib/hotfiles/info.html?fcode=000804
[broken]

23.9  Mike Babcock's ASM Tutorial

Mike Babcock has a small tutorial.  Unfortunately, all the links on the
page currently are broken.  The basic URL is:

    http://w3.tyenet.com/mbabcock/prg.asmtut1.html

    (Note that the internal links currently are broken.  I have
    contacted the author, and he has replied that he will be correcting
    this shortly.)

23.10  BRIAN BROWN'S CENTRAL INSTITUTE OF TECHNOLOGY COURSE WARE

Brian Brown as a very good tutorial along with others.  The assembly
language tutorial, version 3.1, starts:

    http://goforit.unk.edu/asm/default.htm

23.11  FERDI SMIT ASSEMBLY LANGUAGE TUTORIAL

Ferdi Smit has a nice tutorial in text and HTML.  It is available:

    http://www.xs4all.nl/~smit/docs.htm#asm

23.12  PROF. LOCKWOOD'S EE291 CLASS LECTURE NOTES

Prof. Lockwood's class lecture notes, resources, etc. are a very good
source of information on assembly language programming.  His URL is:

    http://www.ece.uiuc.edu/~ece291/

Contributor: Raymond Moon, raymoon@moonware.dgsys.com
Last changed: 03 Mar 2004

Return to the Table Of Contents------------------------------
Subject: 24. Shareware and Freeware Assemblers

24.1  A86 v4.05

    Highest Processor:  80286 (A86)
    Highest Processor:  Intel Pentium Family (A386 only)
          Limitations:  none
            Supported:  by the author http://eji.com/
             Platform:  DOS
               Output:  DOS (.COM/.OBJ)
                 Type:  Freeware
             Comments:  Slightly different syntax, but good assembler

For more details, see the A86 section of this FAQ.
    http://www.cybertrails.com/~fys/faq/a86.html#3

To get the A86/D86 now:
    http://eji.com/a86.zip


24.2  CHASM/CHASM4.ZIP v4.00

    Highest Processor:  8088 (8086)
          Limitations:  none
            Supported:  unknown
             Platform:  DOS
               Output:  DOS (.COM/BLOAD/TP)
                 Type:  Annoyware/Crippleware
             Comments:  outdated but a good learning tool

This assembler was the first shareware assembler available.  CHASM was
written Mr. David Whitman.  The current version available is version 4
and dated in 1983.  This version supports only the 8088 (8086) processor,
and the output only is:
    .COM file (.EXE is not supported)
    BLOADable - format for interpreted BASIC to load and execute
    External procedure for TurboPascal - TurboPascal version not given

The version available on the internet is annoyware and crippleware.  For
$40 registration fee, you will get the complete version without the
annoying banner page.  This version supports macros, conditional
assembly, include files, operand expressions and structures.

I do not recommend this assembler because of it limited capability and
it is very out of date.  Its URL is:
    ftp://ftp.simtel.net/pub/simtelnet/msdos/asmutl/chasm4.zip (crippleware)


24.4  THE ARROWSOFT ASSEMBLER, VALARROW.ZIP v1.00d

    Highest Processor:  80286
          Limitations:  source file to 64k
            Supported:  Rick Elbers (see below)
             Platform:  DOS
               Output:  DOS (.COM/???)
                 Type:  shareware
             Comments:  outdated but a good learning tool

This assembler is the public domain version of the Professional
Arrowsoft Assembler by Arrowsoft Systems, Inc.  The version is 1.00d and
is dated in 1986.  This assembler is a MASM 3.0 compatible assembler and
supports up to 80286 processor.  Compared to the Professional version,
the public domain version has one major limitation.  The source file
size is limited to 64K bytes.

The file also includes a public domain linker, full screen editor and an
EXE2BIN clone program.

    ftp://ftp.simtel.net/pub/simtelnet/msdos/asmutl/valarrow.zip

Rick Elbers maintains several web pages dedicated to this assembler.  If
you use this assembler, visit this site.

    http://www.geocities.com/SiliconValley/Heights/7052/valarr.html


24.5  WOLFWARE ASSEMBLER, WASM223.ZIP v2.23

    Highest Processor:  80286
          Limitations:  unknown
            Supported:  unknown
             Platform:  DOS
               Output:  DOS (.COM/.OBJ)
                 Type:  freeware
             Comments:  outdated but a good learning tool

This assembler was written by Mr. Eric Tauck.  The latest version is
2.23 and dates from 1991.  This assembler supports up to the 80286
processor.  It will assemble directly into a .COM file or .OBJ file.  It
supports a simplified syntax and program structure so programs written
for this assembler may not be compatible with other assemblers.  Several
source files for programs are included with the .zip file.

It is available from the author at:
    http://www.catherders.com/dirs/PCB/ASM/WASM223.ZIP


24.6  MAGIC ASSEMBLER, ASM112.ZIP v1.12

    Highest Processor:  unknown
          Limitations:  unknown
            Supported:  unknown
             Platform:  DOS
               Output:  DOS (.COM/.BIN)
                 Type:  freeware
             Comments:

The version is 1.12 and dates from Oct 2000.  This assembler was
written by Mr. Bert Greevenbosch.  The output is either a .COM file or a
boot sector program.  The assembly commands are standard except for the
jump and call commands.  Again, the source code will not be compatible
with other assemblers.  Beware of version 1.04.  That version had a bug
that when executed without the print command, the assembler terminated
with a runtime error.  This is corrected in subsequent versions.

    ftp://ftp.simtel.net/pub/simtelnet/msdos/asmutl/asm112.zip


24.7  GEMA, GEMA.ZIP v2.6a

    Highest Processor:  Pentium Family
          Limitations:  unknown
            Supported:  unknown
             Platform:  DOS
               Output:  DOS (.COM/.EXE)
                 Type:  unknown
             Comments:

This assembler revision is 2.6a with a date, 7 Jan 96.  It is different
from all other x86 assemblers I have seen.  This assembler is based upon
Motorola's 68k mnemonics and logical structure.  All instructions,
Pentium Pro and known undocumented are supported.  GEMA was designed
especially for 32-bit processing.  The assembler will take only one
source code file and will output a .COM or .EXE file.  No linker is
required.  DESA.EXE, a beta GEMA disassembler is available in the GEMA
package. ASM2GEMA.EXE, a TASM to GEMA translator is no longer available
as part of the GEMA package.  An interactive real and protected-mode
debugger is in progress.

This assembler is available from:
    http://www.programmersheaven.com/zone5/cat25/1346.htm


24.8  NASM v0.98.36

    Highest Processor:  Pentium Family
          Limitations:  none
            Supported:  http://nasm.dhs.org/ [broken]
             Platform:  DOS/Linux?
               Output:  DOS/Linux (.out/.ELF/.COFF/.OBJ/Win32)
                 Type:  freeware
             Comments:  Slightly differet syntax, but many output platforms

The birth of this assembler started out of a thread that started on
comp.lang.asm.x86.  When you download this assembler, you get the source
code in ANSI C.  The web page devoted to this assembler is:

    http://sourceforge.net/projects/nasm
    http://nasm.dhs.org/ [broken]

NASM is an 80x86 assembler designed for portability and modularity.  It
supports a range of object file formats including Linux a.out and ELF,
COFF, Microsoft 16-bit OBJ and Win32. It will also output plain binary
files. Its syntax is designed to be simple and easy to understand,
similar to Intel's but less complex. It supports Pentium, P6 and MMX
opcodes, and has macro capability. It includes a disassembler as well.

Major new features present in this release include:
    1.  The long-awaited listing file support!
    2.  Support for a search path for include files.
    3.  OS/2 object file support, although it's experimental as yet
        (could anyone with OS/2 _please_ give it a testing for me?).
    4.  This release, and all NASM releases from now on, include pre-
        built Win32 versions of NASM and NDISASM, as well as the 16-bit
        DOS versions.
    5.  Numerous bug fixes, including the repeatedly-reported bug about
        blank lines in macro definitions, and the one that prevented 32-
        bit OBJ files working with some linkers.

The assembler also is available from:

  ftp://ftp.simtel.net/pub/simtelnet/msdos/asmutl/nasm097.zip  assembler
  ftp://ftp.simtel.net/pub/simtelnet/msdos/asmutl/nasm097d.zip docs
  ftp://ftp.simtel.net/pub/simtelnet/msdos/asmutl/nasm097s.zip source


24.9  GAS, GNU Assembler v2.8?

    Highest Processor:  unknown
          Limitations:  unknown
            Supported:  http://nasm.dhs.org/ [broken]
             Platform:  AIX 386BSD, NetBSD, BSDI/386,Linux, SCO, Unixware,
DOS/DJGPP
               Output:  unknown
                 Type:  unknown
             Comments:  Little if no error control

This assembler with many object-file utilities will run on 386 systems
running the following operating systems: AIX 386BSD, NetBSD, BSDI/386,
Linux, SCO, Unixware, DOS/DJGPP.  The below file is a gzipped tar file.
You will need gzip and tar programs to uncompress and extract the files.
The assembler and utilities are part of the GNU binutils file.

    ftp://prep.ai.mit.edu/pub/gnu/binutils/binutils-2.8.tar.gz           5018
Kb
    ftp://prep.ai.mit.edu/pub/gnu/binutils/binutils-2.8-2.8.1-patch.gz     36
Kb


24.10  REAL TOOLS 1.0 (BETA), RTOOLS.ZIP

    Highest Processor:  80486
          Limitations:  beta
            Supported:  unknown
             Platform:  unknown
               Output:  unknown
                 Type:  unknown
             Comments:

This assembler is dated in Dec 93 and is a beta test.  The nice thing
about this assembler is that it comes with its own DOS-windowing IDE.
This assembler was written by International Systems development.  The
instruction set supported is 486 including protected mode instructions,
but some holes do exist.  This assembler has a unique way of supporting
macros.  32-bit supported.  On line help and debugger are available with
registered product.

    ftp://ftp.simtel.net/pub/simtelnet/msdos/asmutl/rtools.zip


24.11  GENERAL ASSEMBLER, GASM01G.ZIP v1.0f?

    Highest Processor:  unknown
          Limitations:  unknown
            Supported:  unknown
             Platform:  unknown
               Output:  DOS (.COM)
                 Type:  unknown
             Comments:

This is a new assembler written by Jim Gage.  This version outputs .COM
files and can be used to write device drivers.  Another version
supporting up to the 486 instruction set and .obj output is in the
works.  This assembler is available:

    http://www.engr.uark.edu/~jrg/gasm/gasm01f.zip (broken)

24.12  CROSS FIRE ASSEMBLER v5.10?

    Highest Processor:  Pentium Family
          Limitations:  unknown
            Supported:  unknown
             Platform:  unknown
               Output:  DOS (.COM/.EXE/.SYS)
                 Type:  unknown
             Comments:

This assembler is an 80x86 assembler that uses 680x0 syntax.  If you are
coming from the 680x0 environment, you may want to try this as your
first assembler.  This assembler supports up to the pentium instruction
set, 16 and 32 bit segments, supports direct generation of .com, .exe,
..sys, and more file formats, and supports pmode programming.  This
package comes with its own pmode DOS extender by TRAN.  Currently, the
math coprocessor, MMX instructions and .obj output is not supported.

You can get this assembler:

    ftp://www.simtel.net/pub/simtelnet/msdos/asmutl/xfire510.zip (unknown)


24.13  JAS Assembler (DJGPP ASM) v1.3?

    Highest Processor:  unknown
          Limitations:  unknown
            Supported:  unknown
             Platform:  unknown
               Output:  unknown
                 Type:  unknown
             Comments:

Nicola Gaggi has written an assembler for DJGPP that is based upon NASM.
Jas has a syntax much like TASM and is faster because it is a one pass
assembler.

Download it from:
    ftp://teeri.oulu.fi/pub/msdos/programming/djgpp2/jas13.zip (unknown)

24.14  Rodrigo Augusto's IASM v1.0

    Highest Processor:  Pentium Family
          Limitations:  unknown
            Supported:  unknown
             Platform:  independant?
               Output:  (.COM)
                 Type:  unknown
             Comments:

The Intel Architecture Assembler v1.0 is a platform independent
assembler developed for the Intel 80x86 family of microprocessors.  It
has a simple syntax.  The assembler was developed to get an easy to use
flat memory assembler.  A linker is not necessary as the assembler
outputs a .COM file, but this can be changed.  IASM supports
instructions from all the Intel family, from the 8086/8088 to the
Pentium II; MMX and floating point instructions also are supported.
IASM can generate both 16 and 32-bits code.

The assembler is available from Rodrigo Augusto's home page:
    http://www.dcc.ufmg.br/~augusto/project/ (broken)


24.15  The Visual Assembler

    Highest Processor:  unknown
          Limitations:  unknown
            Supported:  unknown
             Platform:  Win32
               Output:  unknown
                 Type:  unknown
             Comments:  looks like it might have potential

This assembler currently is under development, but it should be worth
watching.  It is an attempt to apply Rapid Application Development
techniques to assembly language programming.  The Visual Assembler is
being developed based that assembly language can be used quickly and
easily to program Win32 applications though the careful implementation
and use of reusable class modules rather than classes.

The Visual Assembler is being build around an IDE that will make
extensive use wizard modules that will guide the user through creating
Win32 applications, libraries, drivers and VxDs.  The IDE will have
integrated tools including a debugger, calculator, binary editor, and
disassembler.  The IDE will support assembling through linking to the
final program.

The home page of this effort is:
    http://www.fortunecity.com/skyscraper/lycos/403/


24.16  Gareth Owen's GASM

    Highest Processor:  unknown
          Limitations:  unknown
            Supported:  unknown
             Platform:  Win32
               Output:  unknown
                 Type:  freeware
             Comments:

    http://www.gaztek.org/gasm/index.html
        Use syntax similar to NASM


24.17  NBASM: The Newbasic Assembler v00.25.75

    Highest Processor:  Pentium Family
          Limitations:  beta
            Supported:  http://www.cybertrails.com/~fys/newbasic.htm
             Platform:  DOS
               Output:  DOS (.COM\.BIN)
                 Type:  freeware
             Comments:  fully supported and is a great learning tool

NBASM was designed to be easy to use and doesn't need a lot of
command line arguments. NBASM outputs DOS 16-bit and 32-bit code
for .COM and .SYS file formats as well as the 16-bit .OBJ format,
including a linker (NBL) ready for these .OBJ files.
The advantage of NBASM, it is always being updated and worked on
by requests from its users, including its main user, me :).
The disadvantage, it is always being updated and worked on :) It
doesn't support all of the most recent instructions, though this
version now contains a lot more of them as well as some that I
missed before. However, NBASM is very easy to learn and is fully
supported by the author.

You can get the latest version at:
    http://www.cybertrails.com/~fys/newbasic.htm

or directly at:
    http://www.cybertrails.com/~fys/zips/nbasm.zip

Join the mailling/announcement list:
    mailto:nbasm-subscribe@yahoogroups.com


24.18  FASM: The Flat Assembler v1.51

    Highest Processor:  Pentium Family
          Limitations:  ?
            Supported:  http://flatassembler.net/
             Platform:  DOS, Linux, Win32
               Output:  .BIN, MZ, PE, and COFF
                 Type:  freeware
             Comments:  A very fast assembler

The flat assembler is a fast and efficient self-assembling 80x86
assembler for DOS, Windows and Linux operating systems. Currently
it supports all 8086-80486/Pentium instructions with MMX, SSE, SSE2,
SSE3 and 3DNow! extensions, can produce output in binary, MZ, PE or
COFF format. It includes the powerful but easy to use macroinstruction
support and does multiple passes to optimize the instruction codes
for size. The flat assembler is self-compilable and the full source
code is included.

The only difference between the various flat assembler packages is
the operating system on which they can be executed. From given
source each version will generate exactly the same output file,
so with each of the following releases you can compile programs
for any operating system.

You can get the latest version at:
    http://flatassembler.net/


24.19  GOASM:  v0.48

    Highest Processor:  Pentium Family
          Limitations:  ?
            Supported:  http://www.godevtool.com/
             Platform:  Win32
               Output:  Win32
                 Type:  freeware
             Comments:

Compared to many other offers, it is interresting because
Jeremy also wrote and provides a Linker, a Debugger, and
several other things of interrest, that make the whole offer
really 'consistant'.
This is a Win32 only Assembler released under 2 versions,
freeware and shareware.

You can get the latest version at:
    http://www.godevtool.com/


24.20  HLA: High Level Assembly v1.61

    Highest Processor:  Pentium Family
          Limitations:  ?
            Supported:  http://webster.cs.ucr.edu/AsmTools/HLA/index.html
             Platform:  Win32, Linux
               Output:  Win32, Linux
                 Type:  freeware
             Comments:

Until version 2.0 is released, this is actually a compiler
that takes High Level Assembly code and compiles it to MASM,
FASM, NASM, and a few other assemblers syntax. Then you
assemble it with that assembler. I believe it is all
automated from HLA.

You can get the latest version at:
    http://webster.cs.ucr.edu/AsmTools/HLA/index.html


24.21  PASS-32:  v2.5beta2

    Highest Processor:  ?
          Limitations:  ?
            Supported:
http://www.geocities.com/SiliconValley/Bay/9159/pass32.html
             Platform:  ?
               Output:  ?
                 Type:  ?
             Comments:

The main page seems to be down.

You can get the latest version at:
    http://www.geocities.com/SiliconValley/Bay/9159/pass32.html


24.22  osimplay:

    Highest Processor:  ?
          Limitations:  ?
            Supported:  ftp://ftp.gwdg.de/pub/cLIeNUX/interim
             Platform:  ?
               Output:  ?
                 Type:  ?
             Comments:

osimplay is an 80386 assembler (no floats) written entirely in the
GNU Bash unix-style command interpreter "shell". It is ridiculously
slow, trivial to port to any unix-alike (or unix emulator?), and is
geared for lovingly hand-coding the x86. Naming is Forth-like; EAX is
"A", mov is "=", xchg is "swap", and osimplay is of course trivial to
customize. An osimplay "macro" is a normal shell "function", and is
no different than an opcode or directive. Assembler state is your shell
state, which is handy. Every supported opcode is a shell function with an
interactive help option. osimplays found in the directory listed below are
public domain.


For another page on assembler reviews, see
    http://www.cybertrails.com/~fys/links.htm#assemblers



Contributor:  Raymond Moon, raymoon@moonware.dgsys.com
              Benjamin David Lunt, fys_at_cybertrails.com
              Rick Hohensee
Last changed: 02 Jun 2004

Return to the Table Of Contents------------------------------
Subject: 25. Undocumented OpCodes
25.1  WHAT AND WHERE

Robert Collins has make available an excellent article on Intel
Undocumented OpCodes.  Just set your web browser to:

    http://x86.ddj.com/secrets/opcodes.htm

25.2  EXTENDED FORMS OF AAM AND AAD INSTRUCTIONS

Mr. Collins describes extended forms these two instructions.  AAM is
ASCII Adjust after Multiplication, and ADD is ASCII Adjust before
Division.  These instructions are known as quick ways to divide and
multiply by ten, as these instructions normally assemble with 10 as the
default operand.   Using macros provided, any value from 0h to 0ffh can
be substituted.  These instructions are available on all x86 Intel
processors.

25.3  SALC - SET AL ON CARRY

Mr. Collins describes this instruction a C programmers dream instruction
for interfacing to assembly language procedures.  This instruction will
set the AL register to 00h or 0ffh depending on whether the carry flag
is clear or set, respectively.  This instruction is available on all x86
Intel processors.

25.4  ICE RELATED OPCODES

Mr. Collins describes several instructions that appear whose existence
makes debugging run-time code easier on the ICE debugger.  There are:
    ICEBP   - ICE Break Point
    UMOV    - User Move Data
    LOADALL - Loads the Entire CPU State

Contributor:  Raymond Moon, raymoon@moonware.dgsys.com
Last changed: 03 Mar 2004

Return to the Table Of Contents


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