Peter Soetens wrote:
> On Wed, Sep 30, 2009 at 16:27, Gilles Chanteperdrix
> <gilles.chanteperd...@xenomai.org> wrote:
>> Peter Soetens wrote:
>>> On Tue, Sep 29, 2009 at 19:31, Gilles Chanteperdrix
>>> <gilles.chanteperd...@xenomai.org> wrote:
>>>> Hi guys,
>>>>
>>>> full of energy after this tremendous first XUM, I would like to start a
>>>> discussion about what people would like to see in the 2.5 branch.
>>> So if we answer positively, we'll delay the release ? I'd rather get
>>> 2.5 out, and develop any new stuff on 2.6. I would also expect that
>>> this list (or part of ) goes to xenomai-help too.
>> The facts are:
>> - our release cycle is long;
>> - we want to keep the ABI stable for each branch.
>> So, anything that we want "soon" and that breaks the ABI should be done
>> in the 2.5 branch, otherwise will have to wait 2.6.
> 
> Ok, but there is stuff in 2.5 I want "soon" too, which you would be delaying.
> 
>>>> Here is a first list, please feel free to criticize it:
>>>> - signals in primary domain (something that we almost forgot)
>>> I refrain from using signals in my apps. They only cause disaster when
>>> using 3rd party libraries. Only Ctrl-C (quit) and debugger signals are
>>> used, and a switch from primary to secondary is perfectly acceptable
>>> in these two cases.
>> Yes, signals is a bit of a misnomer, what we actually want is for the
>> kernel to be able to cause the execution of an asynchronous callback in
>> user-space. For the native skin, it would be for the implementation of
>> some hooks. For the posix skin, it would be for the implementation of
>> signasl. The implementation of posix timers is based on signals (except
>> for SIGEV_THREAD, but who uses SIGEV_THREAD in an rt app...), having
>> them cause a switch to secondary mode make them unusable for practical
>> purposes. So, with the current version of Xenomai posix skin, you have
>> to implement your own timer method, having for instance a thread which
>> nanosleep()s until the next timer expiry and then executes the callback.
> 
> Ok, but I don't use posix timers for the reasons above. I use
> clock_nanosleep instead, which offers the same functionality.

Any sane skin should offer timer services... Using nanosleep is a
workaround for the lack of this feature.

> 
>>>> - xnsynch_acquire using atomic_cmpxchg unconditionally (no #ifdefs)
>>> This is too core for me.
>>>
>>>> - statistics of all mapped named heaps in /proc/xenomai/heap
>>> Don't use heaps since we do all in user space (and I had the
>>> impression that heap was for kernel<->user.)
>>>
>>>> - unwapped access to user-space posix skin methods
>>> I wouldn't know why I need this. Do you we link with libpthread
>>> instead of libpthread-rt ?
>> Well the wrap thing is a bit cumbersome. And having the calls be named
>> with exactly the posix name is useful only if you intend to compile
>> exactly the same code for xenomai and other posix systems. Otherwise,
>> you could decide to use a little prefix or suffix to each posix skin
>> service, and avoid the wrapping clumsyness.
> 
> So like we did in the RTAI days. Maybe we can use rt_ by (safe!)
> default and allow a #define in case the users wants to use the
> wrapping and is aware that he needs to use the wrapping during
> linking.

No, no macros, just aliases at binary level. Probably a separate header too.

> 
>>>> - fast semaphores in user-space
>>> I donn't know why I wouldn't need this.
>>>
>>>> - syscall-less select ?
>>> Since a syscall is not per-se bad (?) I also don't see what to win here.
>> syscall are expensive (which is why we do syscall-less mutexes for
>> instance). The idea would be to put the bitfield with the ready file
>> descriptors in a shared heap, to avoid going for the syscall if fds are
>> already ready when entering select(). The scenario where we would gain
>> is on a loaded system, which is exactly when we want to avoid useless
>> syscalls.
> 
> Then I'm tempted to be in favour, although I'd like to confirm first
> that select() is not broken as it is now. Are syscalls expensive
> because I'm running Xenomai, or is this the case in vanilla Linux too
> ? Do we try to be better than Linux (until they use a similar 'fix' in
> libc) ?

No, syscalls are expensive because they are two context switches from
user-space to kernel-space and back. As for the implementation of
select, Xenomai's implementation is a different trade-off than Linux'es.
Typically, you get O(1) performance, whereas with Linux, you get O(n)
peformance. n being the number of descriptors in the fdset. People will
tell you that it does not matter since user-space scanning the fdset
returned by select is O(n), but it is a much smaller big O (testing a bit).

> 
>>>> Actually, there are already a lot of things.
>>>> So, what do you think?
>>> I'm uttermost concerned with stability and to a lesser extent
>>> performance. I regard every feature change as changing those two
>>> criteria for the worse (unless its a feature that fixes a bug).
>> Well... I disagree. Even when fixing bugs we can introduce other bugs.
>> What matters if you aim for stability and performance is improving the
>> tests, not avoiding modifications.
> 
> You got me. But until the tests are improved, I beg you to be careful ;-)

There is something I realized when watching Niklaus Giger's
presentation, it is that users should distrust the maintainers' testing
and should run their own tests, I think it is a sane behaviour. I do not
mean that we should not improve our testing, but simply that our tests
can not cover the way all users use Xenomai.

-- 
                                            Gilles.

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