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Re: PostgreSQL for VAX on NetBSD/OpenBSD

On 2014-07-17 16:53, Greg Stark wrote:
On Thu, Jul 17, 2014 at 4:45 AM, Thor Lancelot Simon <tls%panix.com@localhost> 
Except, of course, for IEEE floating point, because the VAX's floating point
unit simply does not provide that

Actually I think that's relevant. We usually get focused on the
concurrency because that's an area where architectures vary a lot but
it sounds like VAX barely supports multiple CPUs and generally older
architectures had fairly mundane concurrency semantics since they were
designed to work with existing toolchains. From memory it wasn't until
later Sparc chips and Alpha that people started to experiment with
looser concurrency models and expecting the toolchains to satisfy
complex constraints to make them work.

Well, VAXen support multiple CPUs just fine. However, NetBSD/vax barely have support for it. That could of course change with time, as there are plenty of multiple CPU machines around. We just need to add support for them in NetBSD...

Also, VAX did not use CAS as the general paradigm for atomic writes and so on, but have other explicit instructions that are guaranteed to be atomic. NetBSD/vax don't use the VAX specific instructions, but emulates CAS in the kernel instead. But I don't remember how that extends to userland. It's obviously easiest if userland programs use the pthread library functions, which are guaranteed to work right even in multiprocessor environment.

Implementing your own spinlocks is of course possible, but a horrible way to use machine resources in userland.


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