Force GCC to push the arguments on the stack before calling the function (using the PUSH statement)


I have started developing a small 16-bit OS under GCC/G++. I am using a GCC cross-compiler, which I compiled under Cygwin, I am putting asm(".code16gcc\n") as the first line of each .CPP file, using Intel ASM syntax and the command lines for compiling and linking a .CPP file look like this:

G++: i586-elf-g++ -c $(CPP_FILE) -o $(OBJECT_OUTPUT) -nostdinc -ffreestanding -nostdlib -fno-builtin -fno-rtti -fno-exceptions -fpermissive -masm=intel


The problem I am currently facing is the way GCC translates function-calling code into assembly.

To be more specific, instead of using the PUSH instruction to pass the arguments, GCC "calculates" the offsets relative to ESP the arguments should be located at, and then uses the MOV instruction to write the stack manually.

This is not beneficial for me, since I rely on the PUSH instruction in my assembly code. To illustrate my problem clearer, take these 2 functions:

void f2(int x);

void f1(){
    int arg = 8;
    asm("mov eax, 5");
    asm("push eax");
    asm("pop eax");
void f2(int x){

In function f1, I am saving EAX using the PUSH instruction, and I would expect to have it restored to 5 after calling f2 and executing the "POP EAX" instruction. It turns out however that EAX becomes 8, not 5. That's because the ASSEMBLY CODE GCC generates looks like this (I've included the source as well for clarity):

void f1()
C++: {
    push ebp
    mov ebp,esp
    sub esp,byte +0x14

    C++: int arg = 8;
        mov dword [ebp-0x4],0x8

    C++: asm("mov eax, 5");
        mov eax,0x5

    C++: asm("push eax");
        push eax

    C++: f2(arg);
        mov eax,[ebp-0x4]
        mov [dword esp],eax =======>>>>>> HERE'S THE PROBLEM, WHY NOT 'PUSH EAX' ?!!
        call f2

    C++: asm("pop eax");
        pop eax

C++: }
    o32 leave
    o32 ret

void f2(int x)
C++: {
    push ebp
    mov ebp,esp
C++: }
    pop ebp
    o32 ret

I have tried using some G++ compilation flags like -mpush-args or -mno-push-args and another one which I can't remember and GCC still doesn't want to use PUSH. The version I'm using is i586-elf-g++ (GCC) 4.7.2 (Cross-Compiler recompiled in Cygwin).

Thank you in advance!

UPDATE: Here's a webpage I've found:

That just seems really stupid for GCC to do, considering that it limits the usability of inline assembly for complex stuff. :( Please leave an answer if you have a suggestion.

I've been very lucky finding a solution to this problem, but it finally does what I want it to do. Here's what the GCC manual for version 4.7.2 state:

Use PUSH operations to store outgoing parameters. This method is shorter
and usually equally fast as method using SUB/MOV operations and is enabled
by default. In some cases disabling it may improve performance because of
improved scheduling and reduced dependencies.

If enabled, the maximum amount of space required for outgoing arguments will
be computed in the function prologue. This is faster on most modern CPUs
because of reduced dependencies, improved scheduling and reduced stack usage
when preferred stack boundary is not equal to 2. The drawback is a notable
increase in code size. This switch implies ‘-mno-push-args’.

I'm saying I am lucky because -mpush-args does not work, what works is instead "-mno-accumulate-outgoing-args", which is not even documented!