Linux 2.6.38 eliminates last main global lock, improving performance

The first release candidate for the upcoming Linux 2.6.38 kernel is now out and it could further improve Linux performance.

With 2.6.37, the Big Kernel Lock (BKL) was removed, but apparently there is at least one more big global lock that needed to come out. In 2.6.38 there is a new RCU (Read/Copy/Update)-based path name lookup.

“It’s some seriously good stuff, and gets rid of the last main global lock that really tends to hurt some kernel loads,” Linus Torvalds commented about the RCU lookup.

Torvalds added that the new lookup improves kernel performance by as much as 30 to 50 percent in some cases.

There is also a new scheduler auto-grouping feature which Torvalds included among his favorite new items in the 2.6.38 rc1 release. The group scheduling provides tty sessions with their own seperate groups, which provides what Torvalds referred to as ,’nicer interactive behavior’.


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