DragonflyBSD kernel clock improvements

Matthew Dillon dillon at apollo.backplane.com
Sat Jan 24 11:48:16 PST 2004

    There are a couple of things going on here... it isn't all just fluff.

    First, the basic problem is that nanosleep() (aka sleep() aka
    usleep()) consistently sleeps for far longer then the requested time.
    It isn't jitter.  It's consistently too long.  While it is true
    that the spec allows for this, there isn't much of a point in having
    a 'nanosleep' call (emphasis on 'nano') which produces wildly 
    varying results for small intervals.   While I haven't completely
    solved this issue yet (I have to completely rewrite the timer code
    to fix it properly), it has been made far more consistent.

    Second, the fractional compensation code for the 8254.  The 8254 runs
    at 1193182 Hz.  If your 'hz' is set to 100, a fixed clock reload value
    of 11931 looses significant precision.  The higher your 'hz' setting,
    the more precision is lost and the greater the error verses real time.
    If you are using the 8254 as your wallclock, then you will see a
    significant 'speed up' of the wall clock at higher hz settings.
    hz will wind up being far higher then the true frequency you
    requested.  It isn't just jitter... it's a permanent error factor and
    it can create significant problems if you are running ntpd.

    So the fractional compensation code is designed to minimize this error.
    The fractional compensation code is NOT the PLL.

    Third, if you are not using the 8254 for your wallclock there will be
    persistent drift between clocks based on the 8254's hz-based interface
    (ticks) and clocks based on realtime.  The PLL part of the fix simply
    compensates for the 8254's constant drift relative to the wallclock
    by occassionally adding one or subtracting one from the 8254's reload

    This third part is not really necessary, but it was fun to do so I
    did it.  I like consistency and I hate sawtooth patterns. 


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