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Re: Allocation zones question

From: Richard Frith-Macdonald
Subject: Re: Allocation zones question
Date: Fri, 8 Nov 2002 08:49:03 +0000

On Friday, November 8, 2002, at 08:06  am, Stefan Urbanek wrote:


I was reading comments about OSX speed on /. and someone did mentioned:

"...The use of allocation zones can also speed up the VM system a great deal ..."

I know, that in comments on /. there you may find anything, but anyway, I am just interested in whether that statement about zones and speedup is true or not. If yes, how it is possible and is it true also for GNUstep?

IMO zones are an added complexity that we could well do without.

While it's true in theory that using a zone to allocate a set of objects can localize them in memory and improve speed by thus aiding caching and minimising the work the VM system has to do, in practice the VM code of modern systems such as linux and bsd is such that any improvement is very marginal (I couldn't detect it in simple tests a few years ago).

There may be a few cases where it can still help .... for instance allocating specialised objects within their own zone and destroying them at one go by destroying the zone, but I think the effort is probably not worthwhile.

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