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Choosing between portability and innovation

Choosing between portability and innovation

Posted Mar 6, 2011 6:41 UTC (Sun) by jthill (subscriber, #56558)
In reply to: Choosing between portability and innovation by nix
Parent article: Choosing between portability and innovation

I wouldn't knock epoll, myself. I recognize the design. It seems odd to me that over the last few days I've run across a spate of gripes about epoll in various places, all of them based on misconceptions like the ones in this thread. It isn't just the original complaint (since retracted), it's the remaining gripes too.

There's an unavoidable race between event reporting and any close processing that's most efficiently handled by keeping your own books. It's not so hard to EPOLL_CTL_DEL before you close(), and defer event-tracking cleanup rcu-style until after a nonblocking epoll_wait returns 0, to catch events reported between your decision to close and the actual close.

Note that nothing you can do avoids that race. Having close do the deletion processing will not save you: the event may have already been posted.

IBM don't want their manuals accessed by non-customers so I won't link the description, but epoll is down there in big-O range of mainframe-style event reporting. The main difference I can see is that on the mainframe, the table is in your address space and sized by how many events can get backed up (posted but as-yet unhandled) before something is badly wrong -- for anything but large-scale work you just size it to handle everything anyway.

I notice that nothing in the reporting api constrains epoll to file-based events. Tying any asynchronous event at all to epoll should be possible. Timers come to mind, of course. epoll_pwait handles signals. Me, I think it'd be good to have an epolled_fork, so child termination comes in as just another thing on your events list.

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