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SubjectRe: [Announce] [patch] Modular Scheduler Core and Completely Fair Scheduler [CFS]
On Saturday 14 April 2007 06:21, Ingo Molnar wrote:
> [announce] [patch] Modular Scheduler Core and Completely Fair Scheduler
> [CFS]
> i'm pleased to announce the first release of the "Modular Scheduler Core
> and Completely Fair Scheduler [CFS]" patchset:
> This project is a complete rewrite of the Linux task scheduler. My goal
> is to address various feature requests and to fix deficiencies in the
> vanilla scheduler that were suggested/found in the past few years, both
> for desktop scheduling and for server scheduling workloads.

The casual observer will be completely confused by what on earth has happened
here so let me try to demystify things for them.

1. I tried in vain some time ago to push a working extensable pluggable cpu
scheduler framework (based on wli's work) for the linux kernel. It was
perma-vetoed by Linus and Ingo (and Nick also said he didn't like it) as
being absolutely the wrong approach and that we should never do that. Oddly
enough the linux-kernel-mailing list was -dead- at the time and the
discussion did not make it to the mailing list. Every time I've tried to
forward it to the mailing list the spam filter decided to drop it so most
people have not even seen this original veto-forever discussion.

2. Since then I've been thinking/working on a cpu scheduler design that takes
away all the guesswork out of scheduling and gives very predictable, as fair
as possible, cpu distribution and latency while preserving as solid
interactivity as possible within those confines. For weeks now, Ingo has said
that the interactivity regressions were showstoppers and we should address
them, never mind the fact that the so-called regressions were purely "it
slows down linearly with load" which to me is perfectly desirable behaviour.
While this was not perma-vetoed, I predicted pretty accurately your intent
was to veto it based on this.

People kept claiming scheduling problems were few and far between but what was
really happening is users were terrified of lkml and instead used 1. windows
and 2. 2.4 kernels. The problems were there.

So where are we now? Here is where your latest patch comes in.

As a solution to the many scheduling problems we finally all agree exist, you
propose a patch that adds 1. a limited pluggable framework and 2. a fairness
based cpu scheduler policy... o_O

So I should be happy at last now that the things I was promoting you are also
promoting, right? Well I'll fill in the rest of the gaps and let other people
decide how I should feel.

> as usual, any sort of feedback, bugreports, fixes and suggestions are
> more than welcome,

In the last 4 weeks I've spent time lying in bed drugged to the eyeballs and
having trips in and out of hospitals for my condition. I appreciate greatly
the sympathy and patience from people in this regard. However at one stage I
virtually begged for support with my attempts and help with the code. Dmitry
Adamushko is the only person who actually helped me with the code in the
interim, while others poked sticks at it. Sure the sticks helped at times but
the sticks always seemed to have their ends kerosene doused and flaming for
reasons I still don't get. No other help was forthcoming.

Now that you're agreeing my direction was correct you've done the usual Linux
kernel thing - ignore all my previous code and write your own version. Oh
well, that I've come to expect; at least you get a copyright notice in the
bootup and somewhere in the comments give me credit for proving it's
possible. Let's give some other credit here too. William Lee Irwin provided
the major architecture behind plugsched at my request and I simply finished
the work and got it working. He is also responsible for many IRC discussions
I've had about cpu scheduling fairness, designs, programming history and code
help. Even though he did not contribute code directly to SD, his comments
have been invaluable.

So let's look at the code.


It turns out this is not a pluggable cpu scheduler framework at all, and I
guess you didn't really promote it as such. It's a "modular scheduler core".
Which means you moved code from sched.c into sched_fair.c and sched_rt.c.
This abstracts out each _scheduling policy's_ functions into struct
sched_class and allows each scheduling policy's functions to be in a separate
file etc.

Ok so what it means is that instead of whole cpu schedulers being able to be
plugged into this framework we can plug in only cpu scheduling policies....
hrm... So let's look on

-#define SCHED_NORMAL 0

Ok once upon a time we rename SCHED_OTHER which every other unix calls the
standard policy 99.9% of applications used into a more meaningful name,
SCHED_NORMAL. That's fine since all it did was change the description
internally for those reading the code. Let's see what you've done now:

+#define SCHED_FAIR 0

You've renamed it again. This is, I don't know what exactly to call it, but an
interesting way of making it look like there is now more choice. Well,
whatever you call it, everything in linux spawned from init without
specifying a policy still gets policy 0. This is SCHED_OTHER still, renamed

You encouraged me to create a sched_sd.c to add onto your design as well.
Well, what do I do with that? I need to create another scheduling policy for
that code to even be used. A separate scheduling policy requires a userspace
change to even benefit from it. Even if I make that sched_sd.c patch, people
cannot use SD as their default scheduler unless they hack SCHED_FAIR 0 to
read SCHED_SD 0 or similar. The same goes for original staircase cpusched,
nicksched, zaphod, spa_ws, ebs and so on.

So what you've achieved with your patch is - replaced the current scheduler
with another one and moved it into another file. There is no choice, and no
pluggability, just code trumping.

Do I support this? In this form.... no.

It's not that I don't like your new scheduler. Heck it's beautiful like most
of your _serious_ code. It even comes with a catchy name that's bound to give
people hard-ons (even though many schedulers aim to be completely fair, yours
has been named that for maximum selling power). The complaint I have is that
you are not providing quite what you advertise (on the modular front), or
perhaps you're advertising it as such to make it look more appealing; I'm not

Since we'll just end up with your code, don't pretend SCHED_NORMAL is anything
different, and that this is anything other than your NIH (Not Invented Here)
cpu scheduling policy rewrite which will probably end up taking it's position
in mainline after yet another truckload of regression/performance tests and
so on. I haven't seen an awful lot of comparisons with SD yet, just people
jumping on your bandwagon which is fine I guess. Maybe a few tiny tests
showing less than 5% variation in their fairness from what I can see. Either
way, I already feel you've killed off SD... like pretty much everything else
I've done lately. At least I no longer have to try and support my code mostly
by myself.

In the interest of putting aside any ego concerns since this is about linux
and not me...

Because... You are a hair's breadth away from producing something that I
would support, which _does_ do what you say and produces the pluggability
we're all begging for with only tiny changes to the code you've already done.
Make Kconfig let you choose which sched_*.c gets built into the kernel, and
make SCHED_OTHER choose which SCHED_* gets chosen as the default from Kconfig
and even choose one of the alternative built in ones with boot parametersyour
code has more clout than mine will (ie do exactly what plugsched does). Then
we can have 7 schedulers in linux kernel within a few weeks. Oh no! This is
the very thing Linus didn't want in specialisation with the cpu schedulers!
Does this mean this idea will be vetoed yet again? In all likelihood, yes.

I guess I have lots to put into -ck still... sigh.

> Ingo

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