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A fork() in the road
The received wisdom suggests that Unix’s unusual combination of fork() and exec() for process creation was an
inspired design. In this paper, we argue that fork was a clever
hack for machines and programs of the 1970s that has long
outlived its usefulness and is now a liability. We catalog the
ways in which fork is a terrible abstraction for the modern programmer to use, describe how it compromises OS
implementations, and propose alternatives.
As the designers and implementers of operating systems,
we should acknowledge that fork’s continued existence as
a first-class OS primitive holds back systems research, and
deprecate it. As educators, we should teach fork as a historical artifact, and not the first process creation mechanism
students encounter.
filetype:pdf  unix  os  design  fork  memory  safety  performance 
april 2019 by jabley
Understanding Manycore Scalability of File Systems
We analyze the manycore scalability of five widelydeployed
file systems, namely, ext4, XFS, btrfs, F2FS,
and tmpfs, by using our open source benchmark suite,
FXMARK. FXMARK implements 19 microbenchmarks
to stress specific components of each file system and
includes three application benchmarks to measure the
macroscopic scalability behavior. We observe that file
systems are hidden scalability bottlenecks in many I/Ointensive
applications even when there is no apparent
contention at the application level. We found 25 scalability
bottlenecks in file systems, many of which are
unexpected or counterintuitive. We draw a set of observations
on file system scalability behavior and unveil several
core aspects of file system design that systems researchers
must address.
filetype:pdf  paper  filesystem  unix  performance  multi-core  modern  2016  btrfs  ext4  xfs 
november 2016 by jabley
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