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Date: Mon, 23 Apr 2018 01:50:47 -0500
From: "A. Wilcox" <>
Subject: Re: What's wrong with musl's malloc

On 04/22/18 14:34, Markus Wichmann wrote:
> Each of these is constant time. I am not sure optimizing fragmentation
> is worth reducing the performance for. Especially in today's desktop
> and server systems, where anything below 16GB of RAM will just get
> laughed off the stage (slight exaggeration).

this is so far off the mark I am actually writing a reply on a Sunday.

FreeBSD is currently discussing optimising NFS to run better on 256 MB
RAM i386 machines, and is considering the case where a non-zero number
of people are running it in 64 MB virtual machines.

Adelie is running KDE Plasma 5 on a Pentium III with 256 MB RAM, with
enough left over for a few tabs in Otter browser.  In fact, our base
specifications for a server install are a 40 MB 486 or better (you can
squeeze text mode much lower, but apk won't run right below 40; our
baseline is 32 MB, however, on the PowerPC).

"Today's" systems fall in to two buckets: computers with insane specs
bought by people in the upper classes, and used computers with lower
specs bought by people in the lower classes.  after spending a
significant chunk of my life (~15 years) in both, I can't see defences
like "anything below 16GB of RAM will get laughed off the stage" as
anything *but* internalised classism.  as engineers, our jobs are to
make software for all people, not for the chosen few that can afford
16GB of RAM.

hell, my new Talos cost me so much that even though I'd technically be
considered upper-class now, I still couldn't afford more than 8 GB RAM
for it in the beginning (I'm planning to upgrade in the next months as
my finances allow).

I'm sorry if this comes off as ranty or preachy.  I'm just trying to
enlighten everyone that 1) not everyone has or *can afford* 16 GB RAM;
2) that's a poor excuse for not tuning software to be the best it can be.

After all, wasted memory is wasted memory, whether you have a lot or a
little.  (Wouldn't you rather fit more photos / videos / text in there
instead of wasting it on malloc overhead?

Best to you and yours,

A. Wilcox (awilfox)
Project Lead, Adélie Linux

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