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SubjectRe: [patch, rfc] lt-epoll ( level triggered epoll ) ...
Davide Libenzi wrote:
> To briefly explain the difference between an Edge Triggered and an Level
> Triggered interface, suppose this sequence :
>
> 1) Pipe writer writes 2Kb of data on the write side
> 2) Pipe reader read 1Kb
> 3) Pipe reader calls epoll_wait()
> [...]
> The LT epoll is by all means the fastest poll available and can be used
> wherever poll can be used. To test it I also ported thttpd to LT
> epoll and, so far, it didn't puke on my face. Niels and Marius also wrote
> a nice event library :

I'm wondering about performance in terms of number of system calls.

If I do not completely read from a pipe or socket fd and then decide
to service some other fds (to avoid starvation when one fd is flooded
with data), with LT epoll I will need to issue an extra two
epoll_ctl() system calls. These are to (a) unregister my interest in
the first fd because it's moved out of my "live" set in userspace,
while I spend a timeslice or so servicing other fdss; (b) reregister
my interest when it is time to reactivate that fd's handler. These
are not required with ET epoll.

That is a con.

On the other hand, with LT poll I do not have to keep trying to read()
until I see an EAGAIN: I can "pause" a userspace handler when it sees
a short read(), guessing that there is no more data right now. If
therre actually is more data, I can be confident the event loop will
report it. With UDP-style fds, I can simply read one packet. In both
scenarios, LT epoll saves one read() system call.

I am not sure; perhaps there is a similar saving of one accept() call
per event on a listening socket?

This is a pro.

So there you go. I was about to complain that LT epoll would increase
the number of system calls in some cases, but I correct myself
already. I think it will decrease the number of system calls on
average due to the removal of extraneous read() and maybe accept() calls.

> LT epoll you simply use epoll_ctl(EPOLL_CTL_MOD) to switch between
> EPOLLIN and EPOLLOUT.

?? Is this poorly worded? EPOLLIN and EPOLLOUT are independent events,
aren't they?

> In front of this considerations we
> have three options that I can think :
>
> 1) We leave epoll as is ( ET )
> 2) We apply the patch that will make epoll LT
> 3) We add a parameter to epoll_create() to fix the interface behaviour at
> creation time ( small change on the current patch )

Is it not better to (4) select the behaviour when an fd interest is
registered? I think this is cleanest, if the code is not too
horrible.

Actually I think _this_ is cleanest: A three-way flag per registered
fd interest saying whether to:

1. Report 0->1 edges for this interest. (Initial 1 counts as an event).
2. Continually report 1 levels for this interest.
3. One-shot, report the first time 1 is noted and unregister.

ET poll is equivalent to 1. LT poll is equivalent to 2. dnotify's
one-shot mode is equivalent to 3.

I don't know whether it would make the epoll code messy to do this. I
suspect it would be quite clean.

cheers,
-- Jamie
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