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SubjectRe: [patch] "HT scheduler", sched-2.5.63-B3
Linus Torvalds <torvalds@transmeta.com> wrote:
>
>
> On Fri, 28 Feb 2003, Andrew Morton wrote:
> > >
> > > Andrew, if you drop this patch, your X desktop usability drops?
> >
> > hm, you're right. It's still really bad. I forgot that I was using distcc.
> >
> > And I also forgot that tbench starves everything else only on CONFIG_SMP=n.
> > That problem remains with us as well.
>
> Andrew, I always thought that the scheduler interactivity was bogus, since
> it didn't give any bonus to processes that _help_ interactive users
> (notably the X server, but it could be other things).

The current interactivity booster heuristic does appear to work very well - I
did an A/B comparison with 2.4.x a while back, and 2.5 is distinctly better.

But it is a heuristic, and it will inevitably make mistakes. The problem
which I am observing is that the cost of those mistakes is very high.

I believe that we should recognise that no heuristic will be 100% accurate,
and that we should seek to minimise the impact of those 0.1%-of-the time
mistakes which it will make. Perhaps by just dropping the max timeslice??

Let me redescribe the problem:

- Dual 850MHz PIII, 900M of RAM.
- Start a `make -j3 vmlinux', everything in pagecache
- Start using X applications. Moving a window about is the usual trigger.

Everything goes happily for a while, and then blam. Windows get stuck for
0.5-1.0 seconds, the mouse pointer gets so laggy that it is uncontrollable,
etc. The fix is to put your hands in your pockets for 5-10 seconds and wait
for the scheduler to notice that the X server is idle.

Interestingly, this does not happen if the background load is a bunch of
busywaits. It seems to need the fork&exit load of a compilation to trigger.

Robert was able to reproduce this, and noticed that the scheduler had niced
the X server down as far as it would go.

I'm a pretty pathological case, because I was driving two 1600x1200x24
displays with a crufty old AGP voodoo3 and a $2 PCI nvidia. Am now using a
presumably less crufty radeon and the problem persists.

But last time I tested Ingo's interactivity patch things were a lot better.
I shall retest his latest now.

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