May 26, 2018

Drop-in replacement for Perl threads using fork()

The “forks” pragma allows a developer to use threads without having to have a threaded perl, or to even run 5.8.0 or higher. There were a number of goals that I am trying to reach with this implementation.

The standard Perl 5.8.0 threads implementation is very memory consuming, which makes it basically impossible to use in a production environment, particularly with mod_perl and Apache. Because of the use of the standard Unix fork capabilities, most operating systems will be able to use the Copy-On-Write COW memory sharing capabilities whereas with the standard Perl 5.8.0 threads implementation, this is thwarted by the Perl interpreter cloning process that is used to create threads. The memory savings have been confirmed.

You should be able to run threaded applications unchanged by simply making sure that the “forks” and “forksshared” modules are loaded, e.g. by specifying them on the command line.

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