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Optimizing Unix Resource Scheduling for User Interaction

Steve Evans, Kevin Clarke, Dave Singleton, and Bart Smaalders
SunSoft Inc.


Techniques for improving system responsiveness for interactive end users of Unix workstations are explored. After a discussion of the current state of resource scheduling, a model is presented in which dynamic input from the human user is combined with data from user interaction software to supply a centralized manager with the information necessary to determine what processes are involved with interacting with the user at any given moment. This service then communicates this process set information to the kernel, which uses it to manage memory and CPU resource allocation on the behalf of the user. Experience with a prototype of this environment is reported. An argument for an interactive scheduling class is made, along with other infrastructure changes needed to take advantage of it.

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