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DragonFly kernel List (threaded) for 2003-11
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Re: Am I way off base here?

To: dillon@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
From: Galen Sampson <galen_sampson@xxxxxxxxx>
Date: Tue, 25 Nov 2003 16:36:45 -0800

Matthew Dillon wrote:
Well, my behavior isn't much better when it gets into the flame domain :-)

    In anycase, the two implementations are not diametrically opposed but
    they are implemented differently.  My argument isn't really with the
    design choice, though I do feel that the IPC method is better.  My
    argument is with FreeBSD making that design choice but then not following
    through with the necessary static binary support to really make it work
    well, and then using that as an excuse to make root dynamic.  Sigh.

I have been reading these threads on current. I did not get understand that was your arguement from what you posted there. Your initial post starting this thread did not enlighten me either (which asks if there is something wrong with an IPC approach). If your arguement was clear and I missed it then you should entertain the possiblity that other missed it as well. Their reactions may have been strong since they may have heavily invested time and effort into something that they mistakenly think you are putting down that work.

I have not seen a well thought out, convincing, argument for or against a dynamic root. I also don't pretend to know enough about the implications of each to weigh them. Therefore I am in the position to rely on those who do (I would say that you know far more then I on the subject, but so must others on the core team of FreeBSD). That said your ideas so far (lwkt_thread/lwkt_msg) seem to be good ones. I have no reason to think that an IPC NSS will "not work" unless we are not capable of making it work sucessfully. Actually I like that the ideas in dragonfly have not necessarily been done before (just as I liked to read the papers about the MIT exokernel, and K42). Things can't necessarily be proven correct or incorrect without trying out the idea (of course even then nothing is necessarily proven). Here we seem to be "trying out" an IPC NSS. We are in the middle of trying out lwkt_*. Whether lwkt_* is better or worse than anyone else's ideas doesn't necessarily concern me. It can just be redone/improved to make it better. The same applies to the IPC NSS idea. In short this is not a contest to me, more of an exploration.

I did not consider any other alternative to NSS then to have a fully dynamic system. The fact that there is an alternative, and that you voiced it, is a very good thing (it seems that some people miss-interpreted your discussion of that idea, and thats too bad). The fact that you are implementing it is even better. It is clear that many people want NSS. It is also clear that some people want a static root. Thus the problem becomes "how can we have a static root with support for NSS". It seems that a large portion of the threads on -current seem to be saying "I want it this way!" without providing a workable solution to "the problem". Your idea was possibly the only solution posted to the -current list that solves this problem.

I have been tempted to try to mediate current. If I owned a "heavy stick" (was respected enough to have my voice heard) I would propose those that want a static root to gather their pros for this implementation (including benchmarks, etc.). I would also propose those that want a dynamic root to provide their pros. The benchmarks would be run by everyone. I would also accept alternative solutions (of which your IPC is one, and dlopen() for static binaries is another). Then a reasonable discussion could be started with all information at hand. Hopefully a workable compromise could be made.

Note that this supposedly happened earlier but was more or a private discussion between the developers. The significance of it was obviously not noticed. However as I noted above, they are the people in a better position to outline their arguments, as I do not know enough.

Of course I don't have the "big stick". I doubt I posess the political intelligence to not piss people off. I would also be adding to something that is out of hand, probably to be drowned out.

Pesonally it is really sad to see such a small thing (apparently it isn't that small?) as this leave a bad taste in the mouths of many obviously talented people (You + PHK + Scott Long + FreeBSD core/developers). It seems to me that FreeBSD is good, and has the potential to be great. Things like this only hurt it.


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