To clarify, it's probably only a "bug" in a quality-of-implementation sense. The behavior is perfectly acceptable according to the C standard. 220.127.116.11 makes pretty much everything related to bitfields implementation-defined.
The ABI may define semantics more strictly and if gcc violates them it's a "real" bug. I don't have a copy of the IA-64 ABI so I don't know what the rules are for that platform.
The x86_64 ABI does place more restrictions on bitfield layout but technically there is nothing there that says the bitfield *must* be accessed though any particular type (i.e. load/store size). But quality-of-implementation concerns will lead the compiler writer to implement the semantics Linus expects for that platform and to not do so would be considered a bug.
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