- 1 General package details
- 2 Installation options
- 3 How to enable the BFQ I/O Scheduler
- 4 Troubleshooting
- 4.1 Running VirtualBox with Linux-ck
- 4.2 Downgrading
- 4.3 Forum support
- 5 A little about the BFS
- 6 BFS myths
- 7 Further Reading on BFS and CK Patchset
General package details
AUR and in the unofficial linux-ck repo that allows users to run a kernel/headers setup patched with Con Kolivas' ck1 patchset, including the Brain Fuck Scheduler (BFS). Many Archers elect to use this package for the BFS' excellent desktop interactivity and responsiveness under any load situation. Additionally, the bfs imparts performance gains beyond interactivity. For example, see: CPU_Schedulers_Compared.pdf.AUR is a package available in the
Linux-ck roughly follows the release cycle of the official ARCH kernel. The following are requirements for its release:
- Corresponding ARCH kernel base must be in [core] or else the corresponding modules such as nvidia, nvidia-304xx, nvidia-340xx, and vbox will not be available to users and will cause version conflicts.
- CK's patchset.
- BFQ patchset (until it gets mainlined).
There are three modifications to the config files:
- The options that the ck patchset enable/disable.
- The options that the BFQ patchset need to compile without user interaction.
- Apply GCC patch that enables additional CPU optimizations at compile time (these options are not part of the standard linux-ck package and are only available when the user compiles custom options).
All other options are set to the ARCH defaults outlined in the main kernel's config files. Users are of course free to modify them! The linux-ck package contains an option to switch on the nconfig config editor (see section below). For some suggestions, see CK's BFS configuration FAQ.
Long-Term Support (LTS) CK releases
In addition to the linux-ck package, there are the following LTS kernel releases patched with the above patchsets, with the previously mentioned modifications to the config files:
- AUR - The current ArchLinux LTS kernel patched with the CK patchset
- AUR - The 3.10 LTS kernel patched with the CK patchset
- AUR - The 3.12 LTS kernel patched with the CK patchset
These three packages are maintained by clfarron4. Pre-packaged versions will not be found in the unofficial ck repo.
Users have two options to get these kernel packages.
Compile the package from source
The AUR contains entries for both packages mentioned above.
Users can customize the linux-ck package via tweaks in the PKGBUILD:
- Optional nconfig for user specific tweaking.
- Option to compile a minimal set of modules via a make localmodconfig.
- Option to bypass the standard ARCH config options and simply use the current kernel's .config file.
- Optionally set the BFQ I/O scheduler as default.
More details about these options are provided in the PKGBUILD itself via line comments. Be sure to read them if compiling from the AUR!
Use pre-compiled packages
How to enable the BFQ I/O Scheduler
Budget Fair Queueing is a disk scheduler which allows each process/thread to be assigned a portion of the disk throughput. Its creator has released results of many benchmarks (results and video) which shows some pretty amazing latency performance.
Since linux-ck-3.0.4-2, the BFQ patchset is applied to the package by default, but the scheduler must be enabled manually. Users have several options to do so.
Enable BFQ for all devices
If compiling from the AUR, simply set the BFQ flag to "y" in the PKGBUILD prior to building
Enable BFQ for only specified devices
An alternative method is to direct the kernel to use BFQ on a device-by-device basis. For example, to enable it for
# echo bfq > /sys/block/sda/queue/scheduler
# cat /sys/block/sda/queue/scheduler noop deadline cfq [bfq]
Note that doing it this way will not survive a reboot. To make the change automatically at the next system boot, create the following tmpfile where sdX is the desired device:
w /sys/block/sdX/queue/scheduler - - - - bfq
Running VirtualBox with Linux-ck
VirtualBox works just fine with custom kernels such as Linux-ck without the need to keep any of the official ARCH kernel-headers packages on the system!
Do not forget to add users to the vboxusers group:
# gpasswd -a USERNAME vboxusers
Use the unofficial repo (recommended if linux-ck is installed from Repo-ck)
The virtualbox-ck-host-modules package (recommended if linux-ck is built by you from the AUR)
Install theAUR package and then install virtualbox package.
Use DKMS (more complicated, recommended with LTS releases)
Install virtualbox with the virtualbox-host-dkms package. Then setup dkms as follows:
# pacman -S virtualbox virtualbox-host-dkms # dkms install vboxhost/4.3.12
Users wishing to downgrade to a previous version of linux-ck, have several options:
- Source archives are available dating back to linux-ck-3.3.7-1.
- AUR.git holds AUR git commits for linux-ck dating back to linux-ck-184.108.40.206-1.
Always feel free to open a thread in the forums for support. Be sure to give the thread a descriptive title to draw attention to the fact that the post relates to the Linux- ck package.
A little about the BFS
The Brain Fuck Scheduler is a desktop orientated cpu process scheduler with extremely low latencies for excellent interactivity within normal load levels.
BFS design goals
The BFS has two major design goals:
- Achieve excellent desktop interactivity and responsiveness without heuristics and tuning knobs that are difficult to understand, impossible to model and predict the effect of, and when tuned to one workload cause massive detriment to another.
- Completely do away with the complex designs of the past for the cpu process scheduler and instead implement one that is very simple in basic design.
For additional information, see the #Further Reading on BFS and CK Patchset section of this article.
An example video about queuing theory
See this video about queuing theory for an interesting parallel with supermarket checkouts. Quote from CK, "the relevance of that video is that BFS uses a single queue, whereas the mainline Linux kernel uses a multiple queue design. The people are tasks, and the checkouts are CPUs. Of course there is a lot more to a CPU scheduler than just the queue design, but I thought this video was very relevant."
Some performance-based metrics: BFS vs. CFS
A major benefit of using the BFS is increased responsiveness. The benefits however, are not limited to desktop feel. Graysky put together some non-responsiveness based benchmarks to compare it to the CFS contained in the "stock" linux kernel. Seven different machines were used to see if differences exist and, to what degree they scale using performance based metrics. Again, these end-points were never factors in the primary design goals of the bfs. Results were encouraging.
For those not wanting to see the full report, here is the conclusion: Kernels patched with the ck1 patch set including the bfs outperformed the vanilla kernel using the cfs at nearly all the performance-based benchmarks tested. Further study with a larger test set could be conducted, but based on the small test set of 7 PCs evaluated, these increases in process queuing, efficiency/speed are, on the whole, independent of CPU type (mono, dual, quad, hyperthreaded, etc.), CPU architecture (32-bit and 64-bit) and of CPU multiplicity (mono or dual socket).
Moreover, several "modern" CPUs (Intel C2D and Ci7) that represent common workstations and laptops, consistently outperformed the cfs in the vanilla kernel at all benchmarks. Efficiency and speed gains were small to moderate.
CPU_Schedulers_Compared.pdf is available for download.
Check if enabled
This start-up message should appear in the kernel ring buffer when BFS in enabled:
# dmesg | grep scheduler ... [ 0.380500] BFS CPU scheduler v0.420 by Con Kolivas.
BFS patched kernels CAN in fact use systemd
It is a common mistake to think that BFS does not support cgroups. It does support cgroups, just not all the cgroup features (e. g. CPU limiting will not work).