Re: [ANNOUNCE] Native POSIX Thread Library 0.1

From: Hui (
Date: Mon Sep 23 2002 - 16:32:21 EST

On Mon, Sep 23, 2002 at 08:30:04AM -0700, Larry McVoy wrote:
> > No matter how fast you do context switch in and out of kernel and a sched
> > to see what runs next, it can't be done as fast as it can be avoided.
> You are arguing about how many angels can dance on the head of a pin.
> Sure, there are lotso benchmarks which show how fast user level threads
> can context switch amongst each other and it is always faster than going
> into the kernel. So what? What do you think causes a context switch in
> a threaded program? What? Could it be blocking on I/O? Like 99.999%

That's just for traditional Unix applications, which is only one category.
You exclude CPU intensive applications in that criticism, media related
and otherwise. What about cases where you need to balance a large data
structure across large number of threads or something like that ?

> of the time? And doesn't that mean you already went into the kernel to
> see if the I/O was ready? And doesn't that mean that in all the real
> world applications they are already doing all the work you are arguing
> to avoid?

IO isn't the only thing that's event driven. What about event driven
systems that depend on a fast condition-variable ? That's very cheap in
a UTS (userspace thread system), 2 context switches, a call to thread-kernel
to dequeue a waiter and releasing/aquiring some very light weight userspace
locks. And difficult to beat if you think about it.

So that level of confidence in 1:1 is a intuitively presumptuous for those

But if you're architecture is broken or exotic...then it gets more complicated ;)


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