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One Line Summary

Scaling Linux, both up and down


Linux’s scalability has improved greatly over the past ten years, but much work remains. Yes, the Big Kernel Lock is finally almost completely removed, but there are a number of “little kernel locks” throughout the kernel. Some of these are being worked, for example, Nick Piggin’s work breaking up dcache_lock and d_lock, but others need help as well.

But the increasing use of Linux in the embedded arena highlights the need to scale down as well as up. In fact, given the arrival of multicore embedded CPUs, Linux must scale both up and down simultaneously, preferably while still maintain good response times.

This microconference will therefore look at efforts to scale up, down, and in both directions simultaneously.


multicore, scaling, footprint


  • Italy2010

    Paul McKenney

    IBM Linux Technology Center


    Paul E. McKenney has been coding for almost four decades, more than half of that on parallel hardware, where his work has earned him a reputation among some as a flaming heretic. Over the past decade, Paul has been an IBM Distinguished Engineer at the IBM Linux Technology Center. Paul maintains the RCU implementation within the Linux kernel, where the variety of workloads present highly entertaining performance, scalability, real-time response, and energy-efficiency challenges. Prior to that, he worked on the DYNIX/ptx kernel at Sequent, and prior to that on packet-radio and Internet protocols (but long before it was polite to mention Internet at cocktail parties), system administration, business applications, and real-time systems. His hobbies include what passes for running at his age along with the usual house-wife-and-kids habit.