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Date:	Wed, 18 Mar 2015 20:43:43 -0700
From:	Mitchell Erblich <>
To:	Mike Galbraith <>
Subject: Re: Linux Kernel Scheduling Addition Notification : Hybrid Sleepers and Unfair scheduling

On Mar 18, 2015, at 7:38 PM, Mike Galbraith <> wrote:

> On Wed, 2015-03-18 at 16:25 -0700, Mitchell Erblich wrote:
>> 	Over 10 years ago, System V Release 4 was enhanced with additional
>> features by Sun Microsystems. One of the more minor extensions dealt
>> with the subdivision of process’s scheduling characteristics and was
>> known as he INTERACTIVE /IA scheduling class. This scheduling class
>> was targeted to frequent sleepers, with the mouse icon being one the
>> first processes/tasks..
>> 	Linux has no explicit SCHED_IA scheduling policy, but does alter
>> scheduling characteristics based on some sleep behavior (example:
>> GENTLE_FAIR_SLEEPERS) within the fair share scheduling configuration
>> option.
> That's about fairness, it levels the playing field sleepers vs hogs.
>> Processes / tasks that are CPU bound that fit into a SLEEPER behavior
>> can have a hybrid behavior over time where during any one scheduling
>> period, it may consume its variable length allocated time. This can
>> alter its expected short latency to be current / ONPROC. To simplify
>> the implementation, it is suggested that SCHED_IA be a sub scheduling
>> policy of SCHED_NORMAL. Shouldn’t an administrator be able to classify
>> that the NORMAL long term behavior of a task, be one as a FIXED
>> sleeper?
> Nope, we definitely don't want a SCHED_IA class.
> Your box can't tell if you're interacting or not even if you explicitly
> define something as 'interactive'.  If I stare in fascination at an
> eye-candy screen-saver, it becomes 'interactive'.  If I'm twiddling my
> thumbs waiting for a kbuild whatever other CPU intensive job to finish,
> that job becomes the 'interactive' thing of import.  The last thing I
> want is to have to squabble with every crack-head programmer on the
> planet who thinks his/her cool app should get special treatment.
> You can’t get there from here.

This proposal was ONLY to resolve the legal issue with public domain code of notification when a patch was not offered.…

	Any “crack-head programmer”  can still set if he has the CAPABILITY to change the scheduling policy to a RT-FIFO or RT-RR, to give the app special treatment… So, this proposal does not mitigate or change that treatment, assuming that the same CAPABILITY is checked.

	POSIX ONLY specifies RT tasks as creating a level of unfairness, where in some APPLICATION SPECIFIC uses of Linux, need to execute an infrequently executed more than what is currently FAIR. 

	So, the Linux scheduler ALREADY determines if a task slept during a time window and if it DIDN’T, it is penalized versus the tasks that did sleep.   It is effectively a dynamic scheduling behavior, where sometimes your interactive task did not fully sleep. Thus, why not still treat it as a IA task, because of the nature/functionality of the task??? 

	 If could be generating tones/music through the audio/speaker driver of the system and you want a consistent minimal latency,  else you generate warble on your music.  Thus, if an admin/task KNOWS that a task is essentially a INTERACTIVE, aka a mouse icon driver, audio driver, etc that if a admin or startup script has the CAPABILITY, then he can set to make sure that the INTERACTIVE task ALWAYS/CONSISTENTLY is treated as an INTERACTIVE task.

		Doing this change allows one or more tasks to BETTER behave the same independently of the number of tasks that are being scheduled during the time window and the number of CPUs/cores without any other special scheduling.

	This was a SVR4.x feature within the SunOS kernel and a number of other SVR4.x UNIX Kernels, that could be set via priocntl(1) (Linux does not support) or a start script.

>> 	Thus, the first Proposal is to explicitly support the SCHED_IA
>> scheduling policy within the Linux kernel. After kernel support, any
>> application that has the same functionality as priocntl(1) then needs
>> to be altered to support this new scheduling policy.
>> Note: Administrator in this context should be a task with a UID, EUID,
>> GID, EGID, etc, that has the proper CAPABILITY to alter scheduling
>> behavior.
> Snip.. we already have truckloads of bandwidth control.
> 	-Mike

	This is NOT bandwidth control..  Allocates an increase in its time slice versus other tasks…

	SCHED_UNFAIR pertains to a task that can sometimes run and consume a UN-fair number of CPU cycles. With the routing protocol OSPFv2/v3, a well known Link state task is specified by function, but regular tasks that INFREQUENTLY execute like a file system file check(fsck) becomes a boot bottleneck if it is actually doing work and isn’t able to do its work without a number of context switches. With this functionality more than a 30% or more latency decrease can occur, depending on the number of tasks contending for the time window.

		Yes, if a TASK_UNFAIR policy always executes in every time window, then the other tasks are treated unfairly, but as originally specified, it makes sense to allow the DR & BDR & DR-OTHERSs to execute this critical task ASAP, and change the routing table where necessary.

		For you NFS or TCP people that MUST flush your data ASAP to the destination, it would be detrimental (loss of more data) to NOT allow one task to temporally consume an UNFAIR number of cycles versus other application tasks. 

	The Linux scheduler generally tries to generate a level of scheduling fairness and SOMETIMES, you temporally don’t want FAIRNESS without resorting to pushing task to one of the two RT policies.

	Mitchell Erblich

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