Re: VM question (ramfs abuse)

From: Christoph Rohland (
Date: Tue Feb 06 2001 - 04:18:33 EST

Hi Paul,

On Mon, 5 Feb 2001, wrote:
> Christoph Rohland <>, on Sun Feb 04, 2001 [10:53:26 AM] said:
> @>Paul <> writes:
> @>> I finally managed to coax the cursor over to mutt and quit it. Then things
> @>> were instantly fine and I could remove 'blob'.
> @>> My question is, why wasnt any swap used during this time? Ramfs
> @>> may not have any backing store?
> @>
> @>Because RAMFS lives in _physical_ ram. Grab my tmpfs patch and you
> @>will have ramfs + swapping and accounting. But set a limit (Mount
> @>option size) to it before doing anything like
> @>'dd if=/dev/zero of=blob' ;-)
> @>
> Dear Christoph;
> First, thankyou for the reply. Heh. Meant to send to the list,
> but got only you. Oh well.
> I have been testing tmpfs on 2.4.1. I havent encountered any
> problems, but I have a question. (with a limit, the pathological dd worked
> just fine :) For fun, I did a
> 'time (make dep && make clean && make bzImage)' using 2.2.18, 2.4.1, and
> various fs's as /tmp. (reiser, ext2, ramfs, tmpfs) Both using and not
> using the -pipe gcc option during the build.
> I was somewhat suprised that each time was the same (within, like
> 1/10th of a percent)

You probably have to stress some more since the page cache is _very_
effective on Linux. I can bring down a kernel compile on a 8way
machine with parallel make from ~44 seconds to ~40 seconds which is a
real speedup ;-)

Actually I really doubt a real speed benefit for normal users with
tmpfs but there may be other benefits:

- 'add swap on any device and your tmpfs grows' can be really valuable.
- Automatic cleanup of /tmp on reboot
- No traces of temporary files on backing store may help the crypto
  people. (But no if you swap that argument is hosed.)
- ???

There are some people out there which really wanted to have this and
it was a minor task to add the full support to shm fs.


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