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November 17, 1999 22:16
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Date: Mon, 8 Nov 1999 18:37:20 -0500
From: Ilya Zakharevich <>
To: Tom Christiansen <>
Cc: Simon Cozens <>,
Subject: Re: Bondage to disciplines (Was: FIX: $\ = "a\000b";)
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On Mon, Nov 08, 1999 at 04:27:36PM -0700, Tom Christiansen wrote:
> You have historically manifested the most peculiar of notions as far
> as processes are concerned.  What's there in POSIX now is plenty fine
> to get a whole lot of useful work done.

Yeah, right!  Like starting 'mv /tmp/foo /tmp/bar' from a process
which takes more than 1/2 of available virtual memory.
[Overcommitment fixes this, but creates another can of worms.]

I agree that POSIX API works OK when the programs you run are tiny,
which would make overhead of fork() negligeable.  With anything
slightly more complicated than benchmarking programs (when you have a
lot of resources which cannot be just copied-on-write, such as locks,
threads etc) the overhead of fork() should [1] become very


[1] I'm afraid that this overhead may be *very* hard to measure.  Are
     there any decent platform which implements both optimized fork()
     and spawn() type syscalls, so that one can compare them?  AIX?

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