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IDProjectCategoryView StatusDate SubmittedLast Update
0004750OCaml~DO NOT USE (was: OCaml general)public2009-03-18 15:462009-12-07 11:42
Assigned To 
PlatformOSOS Version
Product Version3.11.0 
Target VersionFixed in Version3.11.2+dev 
Summary0004750: WSAStartup/WSACleanup high latency on Windows
DescriptionIt happens that WSACleanup called from otherlibs/win32unix/startup.c can take 3 seconds to end.

For simple program, like ocamlfind that use the Unix module, it makes them take at least 3 seconds to run. For this kind of program, don't calling WSAStartup/Cleanup is a huge performance gain.

I checked this call in other PL (python), and it get initialized only when needed (i.e. when you use the network). I know this is harder to implement for OCaml but I think it is worth doing it.

My first idea is to just call it when one of the network primitivie is used...

Any comment ?

(I can volunteer providing you a patch, if you are willing to integrate it)

Sylvain Le Gall
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-  Notes
xleroy (administrator)
2009-03-28 15:45

A patch would be very welcome if you're willing to try and fix this issue yourself.
db (reporter)
2009-04-06 10:51

I have never observed such behavior. Maybe something broken/incorrectly configured in your system, such as the default route, DNS servers, etc.?
gildor (developer)
2009-04-06 11:23

The network card is either a WIFI card or a wired NIC. Both was configured directly by IBM on my laptop. Network is correctly working in all case. If there was a problem of default route/DNS server, I hope that it will affect more things than just WSACleanup...

Anyway, I think this behavior is more or less visible depending on various NIC driver. Maybe WIFI cards generate higher latency than wired NIC.

My point of view on this issue is that if the network is not needed, there is no point starting it. That is exactly the same thing for Python which only start network when required.

I am willing to provide a patch but it will require to start network only when you create a socket on windows. It will also require to use a global variable to check when it is necessary to shutdown the network. I am not sure that is very good programming style.

If "db" is willing to test my problem, here is a classical use case:
- pickup a project that use "ocamlfind" and compile a lot of thing with it
- time the compilation of the project
- comment WSACleanup/WSAStartup in otherlibs/win32unix/startup.c (add a fprintf(stderr,...)/flush(stderr) to be sure to use modified version)
- compile just win32unix and install it
- time again the compilation of the project

On my computer, there is a huge difference between the two compilation times. "ocamlfind" use Unix module which trigger the WSAStartup but ocamlfind doesn't use any network related call. I have the same kind of latency with "unison" which doesn't use network directly.
db (reporter)
2009-04-06 11:42

My own project is compiled with win32unix. And I see no delay on shutdown (on many different computers with different NICs).

If you have a complete test case I will try to compile and run it on my hardware and then tell you results.

Best regards,
Dmitry Bely
gildor (developer)
2009-04-06 11:53

A very simple test case : is to time the command "ocamlfind list".

On a Linux system i got:
real 0m0.008s
user 0m0.004s
sys 0m0.004s

with a lot of packages
gildor (developer)
2009-04-06 11:54

But I fully agree that it should depends on the NIC and its driver (unfortunately you cannot do a lot of things regarding quality of the driver)
gildor (developer)
2009-04-06 12:03

By the way, I am running Windows XP Pro SP3.

NIC are:
- Intel PRO/1000
- Intel PRO/Wireless 3945ABG

I have deactivated the IEEE1394 (virtual) network card.

I am using FSecure AV 2009.

Maybe other configuration doesn't suffer the same kind of problem.
db (reporter)
2009-04-06 12:20

Here is my times for "ocamlfind list":

57866 14:11:19,4627916 ocamlfind.exe 3780 Process Start SUCCESS Parent PID: 3684
104329 14:11:54,5796707 ocamlfind.exe 1500 Process Exit SUCCESS Exit Status: 0, User Time: 0.0156250, Kernel Time: 0.2187500

NIC: Intel(R) PRO/1000 MT
Driver: Intel, ver.
db (reporter)
2009-04-06 12:32

Sorry, copied wrong lines from the log. Correct results:

21161 14:28:36,2069422 ocamlfind.exe 3932 Process Start SUCCESS Parent PID: 3532
49001 14:28:37,5040897 ocamlfind.exe 3932 Process Exit SUCCESS Exit Status: 0, User Time: 0.0156250, Kernel Time: 0.2187500

another run:

143515 14:30:46,6545333 ocamlfind.exe 3176 Process Start SUCCESS Parent PID: 352
161944 14:30:47,6194999 ocamlfind.exe 3176 Process Exit SUCCESS Exit Status: 0, User Time: 0.0312500, Kernel Time: 0.2500000
gildor (developer)
2009-04-06 12:47

Kernel time is quite high for a simple command. I mean user time is OK and near the Linux value but kernel time is almost 10 times bigger.

All in all, the command seems to take 1 second. This is very long for a simple "ocamlfind list".

Maybe I am not reading well the output of your time command.

On my Windows system with WSACleanup/Startup removed:
real: 0.157
user: 0.031
sys: 0.046

(Thinkpad X60s, Core 2 Duo on battery power).

With the modification, the command takes almost 6 time less. We have however the same user time...

More information:
NIC: Intel(R) PRO/1000 PL
Driver: Intel (12/01/2007)

NIC: Intel PRO/Wireless 3945ABG
Driver: Intel (27/09/2006)
db (reporter)
2009-04-06 12:57

How did you measure your times? I did it with Process Monitor: [^]

Please show Process Monitor times with and without WSAStartup/WSACleanup.

P.S. My PC is slower than yours: Pentium D 3GHz desktop, 3Gb RAM, Windows XP SP3
db (reporter)
2009-04-06 17:50

With win32unix/startup.c modified as

/* (void) WSAStartup(MAKEWORD(2, 0), &wsaData); */
/* (void) WSACleanup(); */
  fprintf(stderr, "/* (void) WSACleanup(); */");

"ocamlfind list" hangs just after printing. I tried findlib 1.2.4 from [^] Are you sure that it does not use any network functions?
gildor (developer)
2009-04-06 18:02

AFAIK, there is no reason to use network related function in findlib.

What about using "fflush(stderr)" (note the double f). I am too used to OCaml-flush function.
db (reporter)
2009-04-06 18:22

Indeed. Here is the updated timing:

67613 20:12:47,2100794 ocamlfind.exe 2952 Process Start SUCCESS Parent PID: 600
106511 20:12:48,9925663 ocamlfind.exe 2952 Process Exit SUCCESS Exit Status: 0, User Time: 0.0468750, Kernel Time: 0.1718750

I.e. kernel time is 0.21 -> 0.17. I don't think it's anything near "six time less". As for >1 sec running time, it's just Process Monitor overhead. The real time is User Time+Kernel Time.
db (reporter)
2009-04-06 18:48

The bottom line: I think you should find the reason for such slow WSACleanup() in your system first. Anyway, most modern software uses network and that 3-sec delay on shutdown is hardly acceptable. Maybe it's caused by FSecure, maybe by buggy NIC driver, maybe something else. And only when it turns out that work around someone else's bug is the only choice, fixing Ocaml library would make sense. IMHO before that we should follow the principle "if it ain't broke don't fix it".
gildor (developer)
2009-04-06 20:30
edited on: 2009-04-06 20:31

Don't you think that spending 0.171s for kernel time is a bit big compared to 0.046 for user time ?

On my "buggy" system, kernel time is only 0.046 (windows without WSAStartup) or 0.04 (Linux) and in both case user time and kernel time are close.

On your system kernel time is 4 time bigger, even without calling WSAStartup... If the machine is slower the ratio user time/kernel time should still be comparable...

Anyway, the problem is that it is not so easy to consider if it is a problem or not, if this is due to my configuration or not SINCE it doesn't fail and it is working in most case. So you are using a killing argument for this bug: "it is just a performance loss, who cares". I cannot answered you because you are right but consider the fact that 0.21 -> 0.17 is a 20% performance win (approx. 10% if you also take user time into account). If you consider, that a 10-20% win doesn't interest you, I am pretty sure that I cannot make you change your mind...

For now, I am busy working on Solaris 10 with OCaml but I will do further test on different computer (XP Pro/Vista et al) when I will have time.

gildor (developer)
2009-04-28 11:56

I have done extra work on this bug, to track it more precisely.

I have benchmarked an application with and without unix.cmxa (a do nothing application in fact). There is a factor 10 in term of time between them.

However, the use of WSAStartup/WSACleanup is not the real problem. If Unix don't initialize the network stack, it just makes fail another function that take time.

So I have search in what cause the slowdown. To my suprise, this is not a directly network related function but stdin/stdout/stderr initialization using win_alloc_handle_or_socket. More precisely, this is the code:

if (getsockopt((SOCKET) h, SOL_SOCKET, SO_TYPE, (char *)&opt, &optlen) == 0)
  Descr_kind_val(res) = KIND_SOCKET;

If this code is commented, there is a great increase in speed.

db: do you think this slow call is due to some misconfiguration on my computer ?
gildor (developer)
2009-04-28 12:12

OK, new solution I can propose. Replace
if (getsockopt((SOCKET) h, SOL_SOCKET, SO_TYPE, (char *)&opt, &optlen) == 0)


if (GetFileType(h) == FILE_TYPE_UNKNOWN && GetLastError() == NO_ERROR)

The drop in term of performance is really smaller and I think it covers most case...
db (reporter)
2009-04-30 11:27

WSAStartup() should always be called before getsockopt(). And getsockopt() is directly related to the network (is the part of winsock library). So yes, I still think that your computer is misconfigured :-) Did you try to disable IPV6?

As for your solution - it looks strange. For sockets GetFileType() returns FILE_TYPE_PIPE, not FILE_TYPE_UNKNOWN ( [^] ). So here you probably cannot go without some winsock function that requires WSAStartup()...
gildor (developer)
2009-04-30 13:08

Sorry for not being clear, I re-enable WSAStartup and WSACleanup, the "getsockopt" change I propose is the only change for the whole OCaml source.

I have removed IPV6 and disabled Antivirus. I even have disabled all network interfaces and then re-enabled it. Always the same problem.

So, when getsockopt is called WSAStartup has already been called.

I have misread GetFileType documentation, so this is still not the best solution. But this is really where the slowdown comes from.
gildor (developer)
2009-07-20 00:55

I do another round to find the smallest possible, less invasive, correction.

Here is a whole new single line correction:

in otherlibs/win32unix/channels.c in function win_handle_fd replace

  value res = win_alloc_handle_or_socket((HANDLE) _get_osfhandle(crt_fd));


  value res = win_alloc_handle((HANDLE) _get_osfhandle(crt_fd));

The function win_handle_fd is not exported and is only used in to convert file descriptor 0, 1 and 2. I don't see any reason why this 3 descriptor could be sockets.

This is the only change required to have a fast Unix module, in my case.
xleroy (administrator)
2009-12-07 11:42

I like the last proposed fix, in particular because win_alloc_handle_or_socket() now becomes useless. (I agree that standard descriptors 0, 1, 2 should never be sockets.) Fix applied in 3.11 branch, will go in 3.11.2.

- Issue History
Date Modified Username Field Change
2009-03-18 15:46 gildor New Issue
2009-03-28 15:45 xleroy Note Added: 0004864
2009-03-28 15:45 xleroy Status new => acknowledged
2009-04-06 10:51 db Note Added: 0004903
2009-04-06 11:23 gildor Note Added: 0004905
2009-04-06 11:42 db Note Added: 0004907
2009-04-06 11:53 gildor Note Added: 0004908
2009-04-06 11:54 gildor Note Added: 0004909
2009-04-06 12:03 gildor Note Added: 0004910
2009-04-06 12:20 db Note Added: 0004911
2009-04-06 12:32 db Note Added: 0004912
2009-04-06 12:47 gildor Note Added: 0004913
2009-04-06 12:57 db Note Added: 0004914
2009-04-06 17:50 db Note Added: 0004915
2009-04-06 18:02 gildor Note Added: 0004916
2009-04-06 18:22 db Note Added: 0004917
2009-04-06 18:48 db Note Added: 0004918
2009-04-06 20:30 gildor Note Added: 0004919
2009-04-06 20:31 gildor Note Edited: 0004919
2009-04-28 11:56 gildor Note Added: 0004930
2009-04-28 12:12 gildor Note Added: 0004931
2009-04-30 11:27 db Note Added: 0004941
2009-04-30 13:08 gildor Note Added: 0004942
2009-07-20 00:55 gildor Note Added: 0005027
2009-12-07 11:42 xleroy Note Added: 0005184
2009-12-07 11:42 xleroy Status acknowledged => closed
2009-12-07 11:42 xleroy Resolution open => fixed
2009-12-07 11:42 xleroy Fixed in Version => 3.11.2+dev
2017-02-23 16:36 doligez Category OCaml general => -OCaml general
2017-03-03 17:55 doligez Category -OCaml general => -(deprecated) general
2017-03-03 18:01 doligez Category -(deprecated) general => ~deprecated (was: OCaml general)
2017-03-06 17:04 doligez Category ~deprecated (was: OCaml general) => ~DO NOT USE (was: OCaml general)

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