flowtable usable or not

K. Macy kmacy at freebsd.org
Fri Mar 2 19:18:47 UTC 2012

> No, I already pointed out the distinction between "new, experimental
> features;" and "essential components of the FreeBSD operating system."
> It's Ok for you to disagree with that distinction, or with its
> importance. But what you're suggesting is that if users don't help
> developers debug "cool new feature X" then we won't have "cool new
> feature X." By implication you're saying that if we don't continue to
> develop cool new features then at some point down the road we wither and
> die. What I have tried ever-so-delicately to avoid saying is that lack
> of user help with debugging "cool new feature X" is generally a sign of
> lack of user demand for "cool new feature X." Not all cool new ideas are
> good ones. :)

Considering there are firewall vendors and CDNs making consistent use
of it because it dramatically increases the sustainable data rates it
is a bit cavalier to say that there is a "lack of demand." It doesn't
show up directly as a lack of demand when FreeBSD drastically
underperforms linux in a high bandwidth environment. The solution is
for the user to simply switch to linux how is a user to know
(parodying Star Trek technobabble) "Darn it, if only FreeBSD provided
an exponential phase inverter on the warp core in the network stack."
All he or she will see is it is slow. Or another very concrete example
is iX keeps losing sales because ZFS doesn't perform adequately. ZFS
doesn't perform adequately largely because the VM system can't map and
can't recycle pages fast enough because of locking limitations. It has
nothing to do with the storage stack itself. However, most developers
themselves are not familiar with the issues much less users. So if I
were to make further locking changes I would initially inevitably
break some things. Your response would be that it isn't something
users want. You're absolutely right, because current users with higher
performance demands DON'T USE FreeBSD. Now you may wish to cut hairs
by saying well ... locking we need flowtable we don't. However, the
gist of that would be that things that you don't understand, that
don't solve anyone's immediate problems "user's don't want." For many
prospective server class users the current performance profile is a
bigger deterrent than the fact that Cairo took tons of hand-wringing
to build and so I spent hours just getting a broken chat client to
install and once I did OTR support didn't work. Taken collectively the
"cool new feature X"s are every bit as important to FreeBSD as ports.

> OTOH, if we don't fix the fundamental problems with ports, and other key
> areas of the operating system, we're just not going to have users,
> period. Given that most of the developers (like you) have stopped using
> FreeBSD on a day-to-day basis, who can blame them?

Not necessarily. Most big shops don't really use ports as is.
Particularly appliance vendors don't care about how package management
is handled. But yes, in principle we could end up with no desktop

> Doug
> --
>    This .signature sanitized for your protection

   “The real damage is done by those millions who want to 'get by.'
The ordinary men who just want to be left in peace. Those who don’t
want their little lives disturbed by anything bigger than themselves.
Those with no sides and no causes. Those who won’t take measure of
their own strength, for fear of antagonizing their own weakness. Those
who don’t like to make waves—or enemies.

   Those for whom freedom, honour, truth, and principles are only
literature. Those who live small, love small, die small. It’s the
reductionist approach to life: if you keep it small, you’ll keep it
under control. If you don’t make any noise, the bogeyman won’t find

   But it’s all an illusion, because they die too, those people who
roll up their spirits into tiny little balls so as to be safe. Safe?!
>From what? Life is always on the edge of death; narrow streets lead to
the same place as wide avenues, and a little candle burns itself out
just like a flaming torch does.

   I choose my own way to burn.”

   Sophie Scholl

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