Re: 2.5.74-mm1

From: Daniel Phillips (
Date: Sat Jul 05 2003 - 17:10:25 EST

On Saturday 05 July 2003 23:44, Jamie Lokier wrote:
> Daniel Phillips wrote:
> > Unfortunately, negative priority requires root privilege, at least
> > on Debian.
> >
> > That's dumb. By default, the root privilege requirement should kick
> > in at something like -5 or -10, so ordinary users can set priorities
> > higher than the default, as well as lower. For the millions of
> > desktop users out there, sound ought to work by default, not be
> > broken by default.
> The security problem, on a multi-user box, is that negative priority
> apps can easily take all of the CPU and effectively lock up the box.

I don't see that: the solution is to set the niceness any essential process
more negative than is possible for a normal user, which is just what we have
now. The stupid thing is the making the most negative possible and the
default niceness the same. What are you going to do if you have one
application you want to take priority, re-nice the other 50?

An alternate solution is to allow the user to specify the default niceness.
For all I know, there is such a way. If not, there ought to be, and it
should be higher than the superuser cutoff by default. Then the sound app
will come along and grab the highest priority it can, and it will actually
succeed in obtaining a higher priority than garden variety processes, which
is not what happens now.

> Something I've often thought would fix this is to allow normal users
> to set negative priority which is limited to using X% of the CPU -
> i.e. those tasks would have their priority raised if they spent more
> than a small proportion of their time using the CPU.

That's essentially SCHED_RR. As I mentioned above, it's not clear to me why
SCHED_RR requires superuser privilege, since the amount of CPU you can burn
that way is bounded. Well, the total of all SCHED_RR processes would need to
be bounded as well, which is straightforward.



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