IRC, freenode, #hurd, 2011-09-07

<slpz> tschwinge: do you think that should be possible/convenient to
  maintain hurd and glibc versions for OSF Mach as branches in the offical
  git repo?
<tschwinge> Is OSF Mach the MkLinux one?
<slpz> Yes, it is
<tschwinge> slpz: If there's a suitable license, then yes, of course!
<tschwinge> Unless there is a proper upstream, of course.
<tschwinge> But I don't assume there is?
<tschwinge> slpz: What is interesting for us about OSF Mach?
<slpz> tschwinge: Peter Bruin and Jose Marchesi did a gnuified version some
  time ago (gnu-osfmach), so I suppose the license is not a problem. But
  I'm going to check it, though
<slpz> OSF Mach has a number of interesting features
<slpz> like migrating threads, advisory pageout, clustered pageout, kernel
  loaded tasks, short circuited RPC...
<tschwinge> Oh!
<tschwinge> Good.
<slpz> right now I'm testing if it's really worth the effort
<tschwinge> Yes.
<tschwinge> But if the core codebase is the same (is it?) it may be
  possible to merge some things?
<tschwinge> If the changes can be identified reasonably...
<slpz> comparing performance of the specialized RPC of OSF Mach with
  generic IPC
<slpz> That was my first intention, but I think that porting all those
  features will be much more work than porting Hurd/glibc to it
<braunr> slpz: ipc performance currently matters less than clustered
<braunr> slpz: i'm really not sure ..
<braunr> i'd personnally adapt the kernel
<slpz> braunr: well, clustered pageouts is one of the changes that can be
  easily ported
<slpz> braunr: We can consider OSF Mach code as reasonably stable, and
  porting its features to GNU Mach will take us to the point of having to
  debug all that code again
<slpz> probably, the hardest feature to be ported is migrating threads
<braunr> isn't that what was tried for gnu mach 2 ? or was it only about
  oskit ?
<slpz> IIRC only oskit
<tschwinge> slpz: But there have been some advancements in GNU Mach, too.
  For example the Xen port.
<tschwinge> But wen can experiment with it, of course.
<slpz> tschwinge: I find easier to move the Xen support from GNU Mach to
  OSF Mach, than porting MT in the other direction
<tschwinge> slpz: And I think MkLinux is a single-server, so I don't this
  they used IPC as much as we did?
<tschwinge> slpz: OK, I see.
<braunr> slpz: MT aren't as needed as clustered pageouts :p
<braunr> gnumach already has ipc handoff, so MT would just consume less
  stack space, and only slightly improve raw ipc performance
<tschwinge> slpz: But we will surely accept patches that get the Hurd/glibc
  ported to OSF Mach, no question.
<braunr> (it's required for other issues we discussed already, but not a
  priority imo)
<slpz> tschwinge: MkLinux makes heavy use of IPC, but it tries to
  "short-circuit" it when running as a kernel loaded task
<tschwinge> And it's obviously best to keep it in one place.  Luckily it's
  not CVS branches anymore...  :-)
<slpz> braunr: well, I'm a bit obsessed with IPC peformance, if the RPC on
  OSF Mach really makes a difference, I want it for Hurd right now
<slpz> braunr: clustered pages can be implemented at any time :-)
<slpz> tschwinge: great!
<tschwinge> slpz: In fact, haven'T there already been some Savannah
  repositories created, several (five?) years ago?
<braunr> slpz: the biggest performance issue on the hurd is I/O
<braunr> and the easiest way to improve that is better VM transfers
<slpz> tschwinge: yes, the HARD project, but I think it wasn't too well
<tschwinge> slpz: Quite some things changed since then, I'd say.
<slpz> braunr: I agree, but IPC is the hardest part to optimize
<slpz> braunr: If we have a fast IPC, the rest of improvements are way
<braunr> slpz: i don't see how faster IPC makes I/O faster :(
<braunr> slpz: read
  again :)
<slpz> braunr: IPC puts the upper limit of how fast I/O could be
<braunr> the abstract for my thesis on x15 mach was that the ipc code was
  the most focused part of the kernel
<braunr> so my approach was to optimize everything *else*
<braunr> the improvements in UVM (and most notably clustered page
  transfers) show global system improvements up to 30% in netbsd
<braunr> we should really focus on the VM first (which btw, is a pain in
  the ass with the crappy panicking swap code in place)
<braunr> and then complete the I/O system
<slpz> braunr: If a system can't transfer data between translators faster
  than 100 MB/s, faster devices doesn't make much sense
<guillem> has anyone considered switching the syscalls to use
  sysenter/syscall instead of soft interrupts?
<slpz> braunr: but I agree on the VM part
<braunr> guillem: it's in my thesis .. but only there :)
<braunr> slpz: let's reach 100 MiB/s first, then improve IPC
<slpz> guillem: that's a must do, also moving to 64 bits :-)
<braunr> guillem: there are many tiny observations in it, like the use of
  global page table entries, which was added by youpi around that time
<guillem> slpz: I wanted to fix all warnings first before sending my first
  batch of 64 bit fixes, but I think I'll just send them after checking
  they don't introduce regressions on i386
<guillem> braunr: interesting I think I might have skimmed over your
  thesis, maybe I should read it properly some time :)
<slpz> braunr: I see exactly as the opposite. First push IPC to its limit,
  then improve devices/VM
<slpz> guillem: that's great :-)
<braunr> slpz: improving ipc now will bring *nothing*, whereas improving
  vm/io now will make the system considerably more useable
<guillem> but then fixing 64-bit issues in the Linux code is pretty
  annoying given that the latest code from upstream has that already fixed,
  and we are “supposed” to drop the linux code from gnumach at some point
<braunr> slpz: that's a basic principle in profiling, improve what brings
  the best gains
<slpz> braunr: I'm not thinking about today, I'm thinking about how fast
  Hurd could be when running on Mach. And, as I said, IPC is the absolute
  upper limit.
<braunr> i'm really not convinced
<braunr> there are that many tasks making extensive use of IPCs
<braunr> most are cpu/IO bound
<slpz> but I have to acknowledge that this concern has been really
  aliviated by the EPT improvement discovery
<braunr> there aren't* that many tasks
<slpz> braunr: create a ramdisk an write some files on it
<slpz> braunr: there's no I/O in that case, an performance it's really low
<braunr> well, ramdisks don't even work correctly iirc
<slpz> I must say that I consider improvements in OOL data moving as if it
  were in IPC itself
<slpz> braunr: you can simulate one with storeio
<braunr> slpz: then measure what's slow
<braunr> slpz: it couldn't simply be the vm layer
<slpz> braunr:
<braunr> ok, it's not a true ramdisk
<braunr> it's a stack of a ramdisk and extfs servers
<braunr> ext2fs*
<braunr> i was thinking about tmpfs
<slpz> True, but one of Hurd main advantages is the ability of doing that
  kind of things
<slpz> so they must work with a reasonable performance
<braunr> other systems can too ..
<braunr> anyway
<braunr> i get your point, you want faster IPCs, like everyone does
<slpz> braunr: yes, and I also want to know how fast could be, to have a
  reference when profiling complex services
<antrik> slpz: really improving IPC performance probably requires changing
  the semantics... but we don't know which semantics we want until we have
  actually tried fixing the existing bottlenecks
<antrik> well, not only bottlenecks... also other issues such as resource
<slpz> antrik: I think fixing bottlenecks would probably require changes in
  some Mach interfaces, not in the IPC subsystem
<slpz> antrik: I mean, IPC semantics just provide the basis for messaging,
  I don't think we will need to change them further
<antrik> slpz: right, but only once we have addressed the bottlenecks (and
  other major shortcomings), we will know how the IPC mechanisms needs to
  change to get further improvements...
<antrik> of course improving Mach IPC performance is interesting too -- if
  nothing else, then to see how much of a difference it really makes... I
  just don't think it should be considered an overriding priority :-)
<youpi> slpz: I agree with braunr, I don't think improving IPC will bring
  much on the short term
<youpi> the buildds are slow mostly because of bad VM
<youpi> like lack of read-ahead, the randomness of object cache pageout,
<youpi> that doesn't mean IPC shouldn't be improved of course
<youpi> but we have a big margin for iow
<youpi> s/iow/now
<slpz> youpi: I agree with you and with braunr in that regard. I'm not
  looking for an inmediate improvement, I just want to see how fast the IPC
  (specially, OOL data transfers) could be.
<slpz> also, migrating threads will help to fix some problems related with
  resource management
<antrik> slpz: BTW, what about Apple's Mach? isn't it essentialy OSF Mach
  with some further improvements?...
<slpz> antrik: IPC is an area with very little room for improvement, so I
  don't we will fix that bottlenecks by applying some changes there
<antrik> well, for large OOL transfers, the limiting facter is certainly
  also VM rather than the thread model?...
<slpz> antrik: yes, but I think is encumbered with the APPLv2 license
<antrik> ugh
<slpz> antrik: for OOL transfers, VM plays a big role, but IPC also has
  great deal of responsibility
<antrik> as for resource management, migrating threads do not really help
  much IMHO, as they only affect CPU scheduling. memory usage is a much
  more pressing issue
<antrik> BTW, I have thought about passive objects in the past, but didn't
  reach any conclusion... so I'm a bit ambivalent about migrating threads
<slpz> As an example, in Hurd on GNU Mach, an io_read can't take advantage
  from copy-on-write, as buffers from the translator always arrive outside
  user's buffer
<slpz> antrik: well, I think cpu scheduling is a big deal ;-)
<slpz> antrik: and for memory management, until a better design is
  implemented, some fixes could be applied to get us to the same level as a
  monolithic kernel
<antrik> to get even close to monolithic systems, we need either a way to
  account server resources used on client's behalf, or to make servers use
  client-provided resources. both require changes in the IPC mechanism I
<antrik> (though *if* we go for the latter option, the CPU scheduling
  changes of migrating threads would of course be necessary, in addition to
  any changes regarding memory management...)
<antrik> slpz: BTW, I didn't get the point about io_read and COW...
<slpz> antrik: AFAIK, the FS cache (which is our primary concern) in most
  monolithic system is agnostic with respect the users, and only deals with
  absolute numbers. In our case we can do almost the same by combining Mach
  and pagers knowledege.
<antrik> slpz: my primary concern is that anything program having a hiccup
  crashes the system... and I'm not sure this can be properly fixed without
  working memory accounting
<antrik> (I guess in can be worked around to some extent by introducing
  various static limits on processes... but I'm not sure how well)
<antrik> it can
<slpz> antrik: monolithic system also suffer that problem (remember fork
  bombs) and it's "solved" by imposing static limits to user processes
<slpz> antrik: we do have more problems due to port management, but I think
  some degree of control can be archieved with a reasonably amount of
<antrik> slpz: in a client-server architecture static limits are much less
  effective... that problem exists on traditional systems too, but only in
  some specific cases (such as X server); while on a microkernel system
  it's ubiquitous... that's why we need a *better* solution to this problem
  to get anywhere close to monolithic systems