"the problem with threads"

Paul Vixie paul at vix.com
Thu Sep 7 16:56:06 UTC 2006


> > http://www.computer.org/portal/site/computer/menuitem.5d61c1d591162e4b0ef1bd108bcd45f3/index.jsp?&pName=computer_level1_article&TheCat=1005&path=computer/homepage/0506&file=cover.xml&xsl=article.xsl
> 
> So... to summarize:
> 
> - - Threads are bad

no.  threads are the wrong solution to the problem they purported to solve.
(does anybody but me remember when threads were called lightweight processes,
and does anyone anywhere think that threads as they are today are lightweight?)

> - - All concurrent programs are provably bad

that's not the way i read this article.  but speaking from bind9's experience,
actually getting useful work out of N processors is very much more difficult
than "use threads".

> - - We don't really know what else to do

i think the VLIW people believe that they know what else we should do :-).  i
do not myself know what else we should do, unless it's the apache fork() model.

> While I appreciate some of the pearls of wisdom, which I distilled as
> "locking is hard" and "people still use popular programming languages even
> though they suck", he really lost me at the following point:
> 
> "To offer another analogy, a folk definition of insanity is to do the same
> thing over and over again and expect the results to be different. By this
> definition, we in fact require that programmers of multithreaded systems be
> insane. Were they sane, they could not understand their programs."

agreed, that part should have been killed off by the editors.


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