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LSP status report for July and August 1999

The primary goal of this research is to improve the scalability and robustness of the Linux operating system to support greater network server workloads more reliably. We are specifically interested in single-system scalability, performance, and reliability of network server infrastructure products running on Linux, such as LDAP directory servers, IMAP electronic mail servers, and web servers, among others.

Summary

We focused on building our web server test harness during the last two months. We've been joined by new staff and new sponsors. We're continuing to reach out to potential sponsors. Work continues on long-term projects.

Milestones

  • Intel delivered a four CPU SC450NX server for use in our test harness. We intend to add disks and high-bandwidth networking to support RAID and gigabit networking capability.
  • Brian Hernacki, release manager for the Netscape Messaging Server version 4.15, has offered to help us install MS 4.15 and a mail benchmarking system so we can begin stress-testing the mail server on Linux here at CITI.
  • Andy continues to develop an NFSv4 implementation, now based on the Linux 2.2.10 NFSv3 implementation. Compound RPC is working, and enough RPCs have been implemented that it is possible to mount via the NFSv4 protocol, sans mountd. Andy is now focusing on implementing the NFSv4 GETATTR RPC.
  • Niels has ported his hinting poll() patch to a recent 2.3 kernel, and is working on removing the socket count constraint in the 2.2 TCP stack. We are hoping to get both patches into the Linux kernel before 2.4 is released.
  • Chuck has developed some patches that fix problems in the new write-through page cache introduced in the 2.3.7 kernel. He continues to work on an madvise() system call and read-ahead for mmap-ed files.
  • Chuck attended LinuxWorld Expo in San Jose, and visited Mountain View to discuss next-release issues with Netscape developers. Chuck will continue to increase his involvement with immediate product developement over the next few months.
  • Steve continues to explore thundering herd issues in the Linux TCP stack. Jonathan is reviewing the Linux scheduler, and is exploring ways to improve it's performance. We're expecting to hire a new graduate student in September.
  • Peter visited Holland to discuss further funding alternatives with Stichting NLNet staff. Red Hat continues to respond positively towards our overtures for gaining project funding.

Challenges

The Dangers of Growing Linux Market Share

Recently, Freshmeat.net published an "Open Letter to Red Hat and Robert Young," written by Robert W. Current. I think it raises some interesting points, so here it is.
If you have comments or suggestions, email linux-scalability @ citi.umich.edu

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