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Readahead: Time Travel Techniques For Desktop and Embedded Systems

Michael Opdenacker (michael@free-electrons.com)

Readahead techniques have successfully been used to reduce boot time in recent GNU/Linux distributions. However, in embedded systems with scarce RAM, reading ahead all the files used in system startup is no longer appropriate. The cached pages could be reclaimed even before accessing the corresponding files.

We will first guide you through the heuristics implemented in kernelspace, as well as the userspace interface for preloading files or just announcing file access patterns. Desktop implementations will be explained and benchmarked. We will then detail Free Electrons attempts to implement easy to integrate techniques to read ahead files at the most appropriate time in the execution flow. Benchmarks on real-life desktop and embedded systems will be shared. This presentation targets desktop and embedded system developers interested in accelerating the course of Time...