Properly written garbage collectors don't cause "unpredictable system-wide performance slowdowns during garbage collection" any more.
Since the 1980s people have understood how to limit the amount of work done by running the garbage collector in "slices". It is also now well-understood how to write efficient concurrent garbage collectors (well-suited to the multicore systems of today). We also now know how to trade off performance vs wasted memory in garbage collection. Some of the most advanced garbage collectors can make real time guarantees.
Given that the Linux kernel is doing a lot of reference counting, which is the worst performing, most wasteful form of garbage collection there is, perhaps it is time to look again at doing real GC.
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