Operating systems

Analysis of Inherent Randomness of the Linux Kernel

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Executive Summary

While analyzing latency data from real-time Linux variants the authors found that there are distinct parts to the system jitter - those that can be attributed to software constructs and those that are inherent in complex software systems running on non-deterministic hardware. Initial investigations focused on explaining these results by considering various caches. While this seemed to allow some level of explanation it did not satisfactory explain the distributions found during analysis. Essentially hunting for the maxima of latency, which was the common initial approach, only can detect grave latency issues, like excessively long holding of locks - but it is not able to detect low-level latency causes like miss-alignments, or short term locks that are in a hot path and thus contribute significantly to the systems overall latency and jitter.

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