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    SubjectRe: FD array expansion problem
    On Thu, Oct 28, 1999 at 01:35:19PM +0200, Matthew Wilcox wrote:

    > > BTW, does anyone know why fd array manipulations are performed via atomic
    > > operation (xchg) in some places (fd_install, expand_fdset)?
    > > It looks strange because
    > > 1) atomic operations don't cover all accesses;
    > > 2) these code parts are already protected by a write lock.
    >
    > I'd like to just plead with people _not_ to use xchg unnecessarily.
    > On PA-RISC, it is going to _suck_. PA-RISC's only atomic instruction
    > is load-and-zero. Therefore we have to have a spinlock in our generic
    > xchg implementation. And disable interrupts. Ugh. It's OK if you
    > xchg something with zero though, and most of the xchg's in the kernel
    > are with zero.

    MIPS II instruction set and better and the Alpha don't have an xchg
    equivalent but ll / sc instructions, which are more universal. Using
    them to implement an xchg-like implementation however ends up as a
    a loop of at least five instructions which we'de prefarably want to avoid.

    The MIPS I (R2000, R3000, embedded toys) situation is worse, they don't
    have atomic operations at all. Historical side note - external hardware
    was being used to implement atomic operations on such systems for SMP. I
    don't know the details but what I know looks bad enough that I probably
    will refuse to add R3000 SMP support. Performance is even worse, I've
    been told that atomic implementations were taking a number of microseconds
    in the range of three to four digits. Imagine, *miliseconds*.

    Currently we have two types of atomic operations in the kernel, atomic
    with respect to interrupts including bottom half handlers and atomic with
    respect to other processors in a MP system. We however only have a
    single implementation of all atomic operations.

    Ralf

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