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make: dynamic scaling of maxJobs ?

I'm playing with a patch to do this, and wondering if there is general
interest in the idea.

Basically, we do builds on biggish machines and compute an optimal
maxJobs based on number of cpu's and empirical testing etc.
That's all fine for a machine dedicated to a single build - where the
goal is to maximally consume the machine.

As soon as you have multiple developers sharing a build machine though,
there is no static -j value that is "optimal".
You either opt for the above computed machine - and accept
oversubscription when 3 builds are running at the same time...
Or you opt for a lower number, and waste the machine when there's only
1 build running.
That problem holds even if you dynamically compute a good value at the
start of the build (all the others may finish 5 minutes later).

Rather than add a lot of complexity to make to address this, I decided
to let it use an external tool.

make -j /opt/bin/

and make will run that to get an initial value, and re-run it
occasionally to adjust.  

Note: This only applies to the initial instance of make, the sub-makes
get a normal -j value - being the maxJobTokens value in effect when they
are started.  The theory being that the sub-makes don't run long enough
to be a serious issue.

There's an inherent assumption there - that you are not building via
tree walks (see 
but the above keeps things simple.

A trivial maxJobs script, computes ncpu's and a factor to apply to it.
Eg. if there a 3 builds running $ncpu / 3, if only one build is running
just use the normal factor determined above.
This script can cache its result for a while (eg 2 minutes).
You can make it as simple or complex as you like - make shouldn't care.

Anyway that's the basic idea...
It is probably only interesting if you have builds that take a long time
on machines shared with other developers.


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