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LSP status report for May and June, 2000

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.


We're continuing to work with vendors such as Sun and IBM on their Linux scalability issues. We've provided several significant modifications to the Linux kernel. We attended the 2000 Usenix technical conference, and presented three papers. We're continuing to reach out to potential sponsors. Work continues on long-term projects.


  • Stephen Molloy is spending his summer in Austin, Texas, interning at the Austin IBM lab. Stephen is completing Linux scheduler work he started at CITI.
  • Randy Appleton of Northern Michigan University was unable to join us this summer. Chuck plans to implement the POSIX fadvise() system call in hopes that Randy can analyze it at some future time.
  • The NFSv4 project will complete at the end of August. A complete snapshot release of the Linux NFSv4 implementation will be made available at this time. Meanwhile, the project is preparing to participate in the July 12 bake-off. Andy is working on file locking, while Kendrick completes support for delegation. Jim Rees and Dug Song are preparing an OpenBSD port of NFSv4 for the bake-off in July. Follow-on work is being pursued. See the NFSv4 project site for more information.
  • Niels, Chuck, and Stephen presented three papers in the Freenix track at this summer's Usenix technical conference. See the Freenix track proceedings for more information. While at the conference, CITI staff met with members of the Linux kernel development community to discuss future research directions and funding opportunities. CITI will increase its presense at upcoming conferences, including the San Jose Linux Expo, ALS, and OLS.
  • Niels' /dev/poll implementation has garnered praise and attention from the Linux community. We are preparing a version of this work for inclusion in the 2.4 Linux kernel.
  • Both paper submissions to October's Atlanta Linux Symposium were accepted. One paper reports on our continuing study of POSIX RT signals, while the other paper analyzes the performance of kernel hash tables.
  • Chuck continues analyzing and improving phhttpd, a POSIX RT signals-based server written by Zach Brown. This work will provide a better picture of performance, scalability, and usability issues surrounding network server applications that build their event core using POSIX RT signals. Zach has accepted Chuck's patches into the phhttpd source distribution.
  • Inessa is studying mmap() scalability issues. When many mapped objects exist in an address space, mmap() slows down linearly looking for an unused address for a new mapping. Benchmarks and solutions are in the works.
  • Will Morris has agreed to replace Claire Hough as Chuck's Netscape manager. Chuck plans to meet with Will and his boss, Stephen Borcich, in August to discuss ways to move the project forward.
  • CITI and LSP sponsors are assembling a one-day workshop on Linux network server scalability issues of interest to researchers and industry. More news to follow.
  • We continue to pursue research relationships with Red Hat Software, Silicon Graphics Incorporated, and the Stichting NLNet Foundation.

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