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SubjectRe: Linux/Pro [was Re: Coding style - a non-issue]
On Fri, Nov 30, 2001 at 05:13:38PM -0800, Davide Libenzi wrote:
> On Fri, 30 Nov 2001, Larry McVoy wrote:
> Wait a minute.
> Wasn't it you that were screaming against Sun, leaving their team because
> their SMP decisions about scaling sucked, because their OS was bloated
> like hell with sync spinlocks, saying that they tried to make it scale but
> they failed miserably ?

Yup, that's me, guilty on all charges.

> What is changed now to make Solaris, a fairly vanishing OS, to be the
> reference OS/devmodel for every kernel developer ?

It's not. I never said that we should solve the same problems the same
way that Sun did, go back and read the posting.

> Wasn't it you that were saying that Linux will never scale with more than
> 2 CPUs ?

No, that wasn't me. I said it shouldn't scale beyond 4 cpus. I'd be pretty
lame if I said it couldn't scale with more than 2. Should != could.

> Because you know that adding fine grained spinlocks will make the OS
> complex to maintain and bloated ... like it was Solaris before you
> suddendly changed your mind.

Sorry it came out like that, I haven't changed my mind one bit.

> > Then people want more performance. So they thread some more and now
> > the locks aren't 1:1 to the objects. What a lock covers starts to
> > become fuzzy. Thinks break down quickly after this because what
> > happens is that it becomes unclear if you are covered or not and
> > it's too much work to figure it out, so each time a thing is added
> > to the kernel, it comes with a lock. Before long, your 10 or 20
> > locks are 3000 or more like what Solaris has. This is really bad,
> > it hurts performance in far reaching ways and it is impossible to
> > undo.
> I kindly agree with this, just curious to understand which kind of amazing
> architectural solution Solaris took to be a reference for SMP
> development/scaling.

OK, so you got the wrong message. I do _not_ like the approach Sun took,
it's a minor miracle that they are able to make Solaris work as well as
it works given the design decisions they made.

What I do like is Sun's engineering culture. They work hard, they don't
back away from the corner cases, they have high standards. All of which
and more are, in my opinion, a requirement to try and solve the problems
the way they solved them.

So the problem I've been stewing on is how you go about scaling the OS
in a way that doesn't require all those hot shot sun engineers to make
it work and maintain it.
Larry McVoy lm at
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