Re: [Kiobuf-io-devel] RFC: Kernel mechanism: Compound event wait

From: Linus Torvalds (
Date: Tue Feb 06 2001 - 13:14:21 EST

On Tue, 6 Feb 2001, Ben LaHaise wrote:
> On Tue, 6 Feb 2001, Stephen C. Tweedie wrote:
> > The whole point of the post was that it is merging, not splitting,
> > which is troublesome. How are you going to merge requests without
> > having chains of scatter-gather entities each with their own
> > completion callbacks?
> Let me just emphasize what Stephen is pointing out: if requests are
> properly merged at higher layers, then merging is neither required nor
> desired.

I will claim that you CANNOT merge at higher levels and get good

Sure, you can do read-ahead, and try to get big merges that way at a high
level. Good for you.

But you'll have a bitch of a time trying to merge multiple
threads/processes reading from the same area on disk at roughly the same
time. Your higher levels won't even _know_ that there is merging to be
done until the IO requests hit the wall in waiting for the disk.

Qutie frankly, this whole discussion sounds worthless. We have solved this
problem already: it's called a "buffer head". Deceptively simple at higher
levels, and lower levels can easily merge them together into chains and do
fancy scatter-gather structures of them that can be dynamically extended
at any time.

The buffer heads together with "struct request" do a hell of a lot more
than just a simple scatter-gather: it's able to create ordered lists of
independent sg-events, together with full call-backs etc. They are
low-cost, fairly efficient, and they have worked beautifully for years.

The fact that kiobufs can't be made to do the same thing is somebody elses
problem. I _know_ that merging has to happen late, and if others are
hitting their heads against this issue until they turn silly, then that's
their problem. You'll eventually learn, or you'll hit your heads into a


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