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This is somewhat off-topic, but what is intent? Is that the Tao VM
"OS"? I'd like to hear more about this... possibly off-list!


On Sun, 23 Jan 2005 15:38:06 +0000, David Given <> wrote:
> skaller wrote:
> [...]
> > In reality, the arguments about blocking I/O and threads
> > are all peculiar to Unix -- how to take the C/Unix API
> > and work around the fact it was never designed to
> > do anything in real time.
> *nods*
> intent, which is the RTOS I know best, has true asynchronous I/O: everything
> is done using callbacks. When a device completes an operation, the appropriate
> callback is pushed onto the process' callback FIFO; the next time the
> scheduler needs to reschedule the process, the next item on the FIFO gets
> popped and executed.
> The advantage is that from a process' point of view, all I/O is O(1)
> regardless of how many pending requests there are. Unfortunately, the
> disadvantage is that all the work happens inside callbacks, so if you want
> absolute top performance (i.e., your callback doesn't just kick another
> process that's been blocked) you end up with state machines.
> VxWorks, which is another RTOS I've dealt with, uses the traditional Unix
> model of blocking I/O. You need one task per blocked operation. This is fairly
> unpleasant, and it's amazingly hard to cancel a pending operation --- the only
> technique I found was to delete the task; and that showed up a number of bugs
> in the device drivers.
> > The *real* I/O on a decent
> > box is concurrent anyhow (using DMA etc) so the issue
> > isn't how to get asynch I/O .. but how to get rid of it.
> Emulating sync I/O on top of async is *easy*...
> function blockingio()
>         local semaphore =
>         local callback = function()
>                 semaphore:post()
>         end
>         asyncio(callback)
>         semaphore:wait()
> end
> Doing it the other way round is not.
> > This is what Unix does .. gets rid of asychronous I/O
> > because it is too hard to program with, and inefficient
> > in the time sharing batch processing environment Unix
> > was designed for.
> *nods, again*
> In a way it's a shame that Unix took off so much. It's an amazingly flexible,
> powerful system --- at least as originally planned; Plan9 is pretty much the
> only Unix that followed the original design philosophy --- but it's terribly
> suited for doing a lot of tasks that it's now being used for.
> Asynchronous I/O is just one example. Another one is proper use of the memory
> manager. There's no reason why you can't have a persistant pointer to a file;
> dereference the pointer and the appropriate file is opened and a block read.
> This would trivialise the bulk of most program's file I/O; MULTICS did it
> years ago; but you can't do it on a Unix because the underlying design doesn't
> let you do that sort of thing. Sigh.
> In an attempt to bring the discussion back on topic: you know what would be
> really, really useful for Lua? A standard scheduler. Coroutines are superb
> things, but if you actually want to use them for anything non-trivial you
> start having to write a scheduler. It would be really useful to have a simple,
> extendable, standard scheduler that could be used as the core for servers and
> the like. I know there are a number out there, but they're all tailored for a
> particular application. Imagine how much code could be thrown away by having a
> standard one.
> --
> [insert interesting .sig here]

Person who say it cannot be done should not interrupt person doing it.
 -- Old Scottish Proverb