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SubjectRe: [RFC] New locking primitive for 2.5
Dave Hansen wrote:
> Andrew Morton wrote:
> > Robert Love wrote:
> >>On Thu, 2002-02-07 at 10:38, Martin Wirth wrote:
> >>Some of the talk I've heard has been toward an adaptive lock. These are
> >>locks like Solaris's that can spin or sleep, usually depending on the
> >>state of the lock's holder. Another alternative, which I prefer since
> >>it is much less overhead, is a lock that spins-then-sleeps
> >>unconditionally.
> > I dunno. The spin-a-bit-then-sleep lock has always struck me as
> > i_dont_know_what_the_fuck_im_doing_lock(). Martin's approach puts
> > the decision in the hands of the programmer, rather than saying
> > "Oh gee I goofed" at runtime.
> The spin-then-sleep lock could be interesting as a replacement for the
> BKL in places where a semaphore causes performance degredation. In
> quite a few places where we replaced the BKL with a more finely grained
> semapore (not a spinlock because we needed to sleep during the hold),
> instead of spinning for a bit, it would schedule instead. This was bad
> :). Spin-then-sleep would be great behaviour in this situation.

But surely you *knew*, from inspection, which code paths needed
a spinning lock, and which code paths needed a sleeping lock?

Assuming the answer is "yes" then a nice fix would be to use
two separate locks - one which spins and one which sleeps.

Now, if the resource which is being protected truly cannot
be split up into spin-protected and sleep-protected sections
then a lock which can be atomically converted from spinning to
sleeping at the programmer's discretion seems appropriate.

A dynamic lock which says "we've spun for too long, let's sleep"
seems to be a tradeoff between programmer effort and efficiency,
and a bad one at that.

Possibly the locks could become more adaptive, and could, at
each call site, "learn" the expected spintime. But it all seems
too baroque to me.

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