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SubjectRe: remove zero_page (was Re: -mm merge plans for 2.6.24)

On Tue, 9 Oct 2007, Nick Piggin wrote:
> I gave 2 other numbers. After that, it really doesn't matter if I give
> you 2 numbers or 200, because it wouldn't change the fact that there
> are 3 programs using the ZERO_PAGE that we'll never know about.

You gave me no timings what-so-ever. Yes, you said "1000 page faults", but
no, I have yet to see a *single* actual performance number.

Maybe I missed it? Or maybe you just never did them.

Was it really so non-obvious that I actually wanted *performance* numbers,
not just some random numbers about how many page faults you have? Or did
you post them somewhere else? I don't have any memory of having seen any
performance numbers what-so-ever, but I admittedly get too much email.

Here's three numbers of my own: 8, 17 and 975.

So I gave you "numbers", but what do they _mean_?

So let me try one more time:

- I don't want any excuses about how bad PAGE_ZERO is. You made it bad,
it wasn't bad before.
- I want numbers. I want the commit message to tell us *why* this is
done. The numbers I want is performance numbers, not handwave numbers.
Both for the bad case that it's supposed to fix, *and* for "normal
- I want you to just say that if it turns out that there are people who
use ZERO_PAGE, you stop calling them crazy, and promise to look at the

How much clearer can I be? I have said several times that I think this
patch is kind of sad, and the reason I think it's sad is that you (and
Hugh) convinced me to take the patch that made it sad in the first place.
It didn't *use* to be bad. And I've use ZERO_PAGE myself for timing, I've
had nice test-programs that knew that it could ignore cache effects and
get pure TLB effects when it just allocated memory and didn't write to it.

That's why I don't like the lack of numbers. That's why I didn't like the
original commit message that tried to blame the wrong part. That's why I
didn't like this patch to begin with.

But I'm perfectly ready to take it, and see if anybody complains.
Hopefully nobody ever will.

But by now I absolutely *detest* this patch because of its history, and
how I *told* you guys what the reserved bit did, and how you totally
ignored it, and then tried to blame ZERO_PAGE for that. So yes, I want the
patch to be accompanied by an explanation, which includes the performance
side of why it is wanted/needed in the first place.

If this patch didn't have that kind of history, I wouldn't give a flying f
about it. As it is, this whole thing has a background.

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