I have a classic Mac OS executable where control is given to an instruction whose hex encoding is $FBE6. I have been unable to find documentation for this F-line instruction, and it doesn't appear to be a m68881 coprocessor instruction given that the coprocessor ID, which is in bits 9-11, is 0b101 = 5.

  • do you have a piece of code with this instruction used? post a hexdump and the disassembly before/after it. Maybe post the binary if you can share it.
    – Igor Skochinsky
    Jan 17, 2018 at 12:39
  • Agree with the above. Without seeing the source, it might as well be a disassembly error.
    – Jongware
    Jan 21, 2018 at 15:17
  • Indeed. Looking at the source of my disassembler, it's decoding a PC-relative address incorrectly, fetching non-code data, and trying to decode that. Jan 21, 2018 at 22:15

1 Answer 1


This is not a complete answer, but maybe I can shed some more light on this interesting question.

Digging through the 68030, 68040, 68851 (PMMU) and 68881/2 (FPU) manuals, it seems that the $FBE6 opcode is not a valid opcode for any known Motorola coprocessor.

As stated in the 68030 UM/AD chapter 10, coprocessor ID #5 is reserved for Motorola use. The only two IDs used by Motorola seem to be 0 (PMMU AFAIK) and 1 (FPU).

The "type" bits (8-6, see p. 10-4) have the value 7. This value does not seem to be defined, so - if I understand the documentation correctly - the CPU will throw an exception.

Looking at some proprietary source code (which I can obviously not show here) derived from Motorola's fpsp040 code indicates that coprocessor IDs other than 1 are ignored in the FPU emulation F-line handler (this excerpt is from the Motorola-licensed code):

  movel   L_SCR1(%a6),%d0  |d0 contains the fline and command word
  bfextu  %d0{#4:#3},%d1   |extract coprocessor id
  cmpib   #1,%d1           |check if cpid=1
  bne     not_mvcr         |exit if not
  moveml     USER_DA(%a6),%d0-%d1/%a0-%a1 |restore data registers
  frestore (%a7)+
  unlk   %a6
  addl   #4,%a7
  bral   real_fline

The proprietary code, however, replaces the last instruction with a jump to a user-defined F-line handler. So, there is a chance that the application or OS installed its own F-line handler for the $FBE6 opcode. It seems that the 68k emulator on PPC machines used several F-line opcodes; the article linked describes the opcode $FE02 which returns from 68k emulation to PPC code. However, this uses a coprocessor ID of 7, so $FBE6 might not be related to the emulator after all.

  • Line-A and Line-F instructions have been used for years to implement custom hooks for system calls. On the Atari ST, for example, Line-A was used to draw graphics. In the old MC68K Mac OS, Line-F was extensively used for all kinds of OS stuff - mostly undocumented. Hence OP's question.
    – Jongware
    Jan 21, 2018 at 15:12
  • Indeed, my original suspicion was that I'd encountered some undocumented Line-F OS service. Alas it turned out I had a bug in my 68k disassembler that was causing it to spuriously decode data as machine code. Jan 21, 2018 at 22:17

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