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Mark Russinovich On Vista Network Slowdown

kdawson posted more than 7 years ago | from the nuts-and-bolts dept.

Windows 423

koro666 writes "In his latest blog post, Mark Russinovich analyzes the network slowdown experienced by some users when playing multimedia content. 'Tests of MMCSS during Vista development showed that... heavy network traffic can cause enough long-running DPCs to prevent playback threads from keeping up with their media streaming requirements, resulting in glitching. MMCSS' glitch-resistant mechanisms were therefore extended to include throttling of network activity. It does so by issuing a command to the NDIS device driver... [to] pass along, at most 10 packets per millisecond (10,000 packets per second)... [T]he networking team is actively working with the MMCSS team on a fix that allows for not so dramatically penalizing network traffic, while still delivering a glitch-resistant experience.'"

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Aaah (5, Funny)

caluml (551744) | more than 7 years ago | (#20382311)

Aaah, it's those pesky DPCs in the MMCSS. It's so obvious really.

Don't forget to pay your carbon indulgences... (0, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20382689)

you polluting whores! When a coin in Al Gore's coffer rings, a soul from environmental purgatory springs. Every knee must bow to the church of Gaea!

Re:Aaah (0, Offtopic)

0100010001010011 (652467) | more than 7 years ago | (#20382751)

Soviet Russinovich analyzes You.

Failed engineering (4, Insightful)

setagllib (753300) | more than 7 years ago | (#20382313)

Once again, over-complication and stupid engineering lead to a humiliatingly bad operating system. It's obvious it didn't receive a modicum of real testing.

Re:Failed engineering (5, Insightful)

morgan_greywolf (835522) | more than 7 years ago | (#20382377)

Almost, but not quite. Really, it's Microsoft's drive to appeal to the least common denominator. Dumb end-users aren't likely to notice a speed decrease in their network throughput -- not even a significant one. So maybe they did test it, but ignored any performance feedback about the network because it was ignored as smart power users being 'overly picky', since their target customer requires that the CD cases be printed on drool-proof cardboard.

Re:Failed engineering (3, Interesting)

blahlemon (638963) | more than 7 years ago | (#20382453)

On the other hand (and I'm not disagreeing with you) maybe when they were testing the media functions of the operating system they didn't look at the network traffic performance cause they've got nothing to do with each other. Kinda like hearing a noise in your engine; you're not going to check the drivers side door hinges. On the other hand, you're right about the least common denominator. Fortunately we've come to expect Microsoft to play to the least common denominator.

Re:Failed engineering (3, Interesting)

morgan_greywolf (835522) | more than 7 years ago | (#20382469)

On the other hand (and I'm not disagreeing with you) maybe when they were testing the media functions of the operating system they didn't look at the network traffic performance cause they've got nothing to do with each other.
They have nothing to do with each other -- until you're listening an Internet radio station or a webcast of the keynote from [insert your favorite conference here].

Re:Failed engineering (1)

blahlemon (638963) | more than 7 years ago | (#20382541)

Yeah, I was thinking about that as I typed the comment but neglected to mention it. Actually, I need to correct my own post, a closer look at the article reveals that it is throttles network traffic by design, an effect that *shouldn't* be noticed in a 100 mb environment. In theory. Sorta. Cause no one needs more then 100 mb.

Re:Failed engineering (5, Funny)

morgan_greywolf (835522) | more than 7 years ago | (#20382583)

Cause no one needs more then 100 mb.
Yeah, I seem to remember Bill Gates saying something like "A 100 megabits ought to be enough for anybody!"

Err...or was that something else? ;)

Re:Failed engineering (4, Insightful)

Brian Gordon (987471) | more than 7 years ago | (#20382529)

They specifically said they throttled network speed. It's not like something they should have tested for and never found, it's something they did themselves.

Re:Failed engineering (3, Funny)

daeg (828071) | more than 7 years ago | (#20382659)

On the contrary, network and media playback have a lot to do with each other. Don't forget Microsoft has a home media server coming out soon. What good is great media playback if you can't play it over the network?

Re:Failed engineering (2, Interesting)

Rude Turnip (49495) | more than 7 years ago | (#20382809)

The decoding of the sound takes place on the receiving end (ie xbox, media receiver)...

Re:Failed engineering (-1, Redundant)

CastrTroy (595695) | more than 7 years ago | (#20382553)

Or to put it a little simpler, people who need more than 10,000 packets per second, probably shouldn't be using their machine to listen to music. or if they do, they shouldn't worry about the speed too much. Let's do some math, 10,000 packets, at a standard ethernet packet size of 1.5 K, you would get a transfer rate of 1.5 MB/s, or in more appropriate data transfer units, about 12 Mb/s. That's way faster than most internet connections available on cosumer PCs. I also know quite a few people with 10 Mb hubs still operating on their network. It seems odd that they would have chosen some arbitrary number of packets, rather than have the computer try to analyze what's going on, and try to limit the number of packets only enough so that it doesn't make the audio skip. Possibly even by dropping packets, instead of skipping the audio, the problem would completely solve itself by having the connection slow itself down due to the dropped packets. However, I find this to be a little unnecessary. No other OS on the planet has to throttle the network speed to play MP3s without skipping. Why does Vista?

Re:Failed engineering (1)

CastrTroy (595695) | more than 7 years ago | (#20382615)

Me thinks my math was a bit wrong. 1.5 K per packet, at 10,000 packets is 15 MB/S, or 1.8 Mb/s. That is actually quite slow, especially if you're trying to transfer a file over your local network. I really should learn to check my math. Feel free to mod me down.

Re:Failed engineering (4, Informative)

schon (31600) | more than 7 years ago | (#20382631)

Let's do some math, 10,000 packets, at a standard ethernet packet size of 1.5 K
Sorry, what standard are you talking about?

If you're talking about MTU (which is 1500 bytes, not 1.5K), that's the maximum, not the standard.

The average packet size depends on type of network traffic. On most ethernet networks I've managed, average packet size was 700 to 800 bytes.

you would get a transfer rate of 1.5 MB/s, or in more appropriate data transfer units, about 12 Mb/s. That's way faster than most internet connections available on cosumer PCs.
Even if your flawed assumptions about packet size were true, how about people with 100Mbps or gigabit networks that aren't downloading from the internet, but transferring files on a LAN?

I also know quite a few people with 10 Mb hubs still operating on their network.
Ahh, and because there are a small number of people stuck with 1995-era equipment, then it's OK for everybody else to suffer horrible network performance?

Re:Failed engineering (1)

darthflo (1095225) | more than 7 years ago | (#20382649)

Why does Vista?
I can only guess here, but I'd say it does so to make really, really sure not to negatively effect Vista's multimedia functions - even at the cost of network performance. Joe Average doesn't care about his 3 mbps dsl link being limited by vista to 12 mbps, he probably wont even notice it during operations on the local network. However, if his mp3s or movies skip, he WILL notice and he WILL be annoyed.

Re:Failed engineering (1, Interesting)

dave420 (699308) | more than 7 years ago | (#20382523)

So by your logic various flavours of Linux are even more humiliatingly bad than Vista, as I've had a slew of problems on Linux that make this bug seem like desired functionality. If you're going to troll, at least try and do it logically!

Re:Failed engineering (5, Insightful)

setagllib (753300) | more than 7 years ago | (#20382595)

Various flavors of Linux can take a flying leap. The mainline Linux kernel is generally in very strong shape, and I say this after spending years loathing many bad choices in Linux. Many mainstream distributions are doing very well too. Most of all, Linux does not compromise basic performance for "rights management", which Vista does.

Vista's worst engineering decision is to make a system optimized for restrictions and money-farming, not for user experience. The WGA breakdown is the best example. The legitimate users who paid a ridiculous sum to use Vista's 'ultimate' features (you know, the ones which are free in Linux and at least standard in MacOSX) had their systems crippled, and the pirates who bypassed WGA were not even affected. The whole feature does exactly the opposite of what it was supposed to do. That's failed engineering, any way you look at it.

Re:Failed engineering (1)

cliffski (65094) | more than 7 years ago | (#20382667)

have you used vista?
it's a far better user experience than windows XP. if they did put some DRM related stuff in there, I haven't noticed, nor will 99.99% of its userbase.

Re:Failed engineering (1)

ZeroExistenZ (721849) | more than 7 years ago | (#20382669)

Forum.Post(structures.Forums.SlashDot,(bug.OS == structures.OS.Windows ? "windows is engineered by stupid monkeys" : (bug.OS == structures.OS.Linux ? "It'll be fixed in no time, as expected" : "In sovjet russia " + bug.OS + " bugs you!")));

Re:Failed engineering (5, Interesting)

gladish (982899) | more than 7 years ago | (#20382805)

As a long-time Linux user (over 10 years) I was always in the "Windows Sucks" camp. Recently I decided to really understand windows at the level of my understanding of Linux. I just finished a 5 year stint doing Linux systems level programming with the latter 2 years doing more on BSD. After reading "Windows Systems Progamming" by Johnson Hart, I was astonished at the complexity of the windows api (win32). Things that are really straight forward with posix programming are a genuine mess with win32. The nubmer of synchronization mechanisms is overwhelming. But after a while you begin to appreciate the flexiblity that the system provides. I decided to move on and buy "Microsoft Windows Internals" by Russinovich and Solomon and am currently reading that. Again, they expose some nasty details of windows and again you'll be saying to yourself, "Oh my god, they over engineered the shit out of this thing." But they continually bring up what the design goals were and again you begin to appreciate what Microsoft has accomplished with windows. Of course you can't expect the system to be flawless. Linux certainly isn't. If you're a windows user, just be glad there are people like Russinovich who can actually understand the windows kernel enough so that Microsoft can continue to make improvements. If you couldn't care less about windows, then I'd still reccomend either book. If you're into Linux (or any posix-like) systems level programming, check out Johnson Hart's book. It's audience is unix converts. If you're just interested in the windows kernel or are a sys admin, check out Russinovich's book. It's really interesting.

Okay... (3, Interesting)

WhatAmIDoingHere (742870) | more than 7 years ago | (#20382321)

So why can my Windows 98/95/2000/ME/XP computers play mp3s without this happening?

Re:Okay... (3, Funny)

Reverend528 (585549) | more than 7 years ago | (#20382359)

So why can my Windows 98/95/2000/ME/XP computers play mp3s without this happening?

Slower Network Cards.

Re:Okay... (5, Interesting)

KiloByte (825081) | more than 7 years ago | (#20382375)

So why can my Windows 98/95/2000/ME/XP computers play mp3s without this happening?

Slower Network Cards.

Then why exactly XP can handle the music just fine on the very same network card on the very same computer on the very same network?

Re:Okay... (1)

Pensacola Tiger (538962) | more than 7 years ago | (#20382415)

DRM?

Re:Okay... (1)

uofitorn (804157) | more than 7 years ago | (#20382437)

YHBT

Re:Okay... (2, Informative)

morgan_greywolf (835522) | more than 7 years ago | (#20382441)

MMCSS is the Multimedia Class Scheduler Service, which a new feature in Vista -- it is not in 98/95/2000/ME/XP. That's why.

Re:Okay... (4, Insightful)

rudy_wayne (414635) | more than 7 years ago | (#20382495)

"MMCSS is the Multimedia Class Scheduler Service, which a new feature in Vista -- it is not in 98/95/2000/ME/XP. That's why."

Winodws XP -- can play an MP3 file and video file at the same time with no reduction in network speed.

Vista -- same computer, same hardware, -- major reduction in network speed.

In other words, Microsoft tried to "fix" something that wasn't broken.

Re:Okay... (2, Informative)

morgan_greywolf (835522) | more than 7 years ago | (#20382711)

In other words, Microsoft tried to "fix" something that wasn't broken
Well, on some machines and in some environments, heavy network traffic can cause an XP machine to slow down, particularly on older/slower hardware. Geeks tend to run stuff that, even if it's not the latest, is amongst the top performers for its generation.

My wife had an e-Machines 1.2 GHz Celeron machine (purchased before we were engaged) with an el cheapo Intel 810 chipset. When she was still running Windows XP, she'd complain all the time about audio dropouts -- I found that these occured during high periods of disk activity or network traffic. Adding memory improved things from the disk side, but network I/O still sucked on XP. When we switched her to Fedora Core 4, and later to Ubuntu Breezy, things improved a lot. I'm guessing if Vista didn't have such high system requirements, this feature would actually have helped her.

On her new machine, an Athlon 64 x2 3800 with 2 GB of RAM and a nice VIA chipset with on-board 6-channel audio, on-board GigE, etc., I'm sure she'd be complaining about the network performance instead of dropped audio if she were running Vista instead of Ubuntu Feisty. :)

Re:Okay... (4, Informative)

rbochan (827946) | more than 7 years ago | (#20382731)

...In other words, Microsoft tried to "fix" something that wasn't broken.

No, in other words, Microsoft/**AA tried controlling something they weren't in control of before.
Where do you want to go today, indeed.

Re:Okay... (1)

darthflo (1095225) | more than 7 years ago | (#20382737)

It wasn't broken for a subset of Windows users. It may have been broken for another subset and - in accordance with Vista's focus on Multimedia - fixed for those users (which creates a disadvantage for the former subset, but since Microsoft's main target audience (I'd guess something like "Joe Average and Business/Enterprise Customers") won't notice and/or care about.
This reminds me of the "half-open tcp connection limit" problems in XPSP2. A problem for some users (I think back then it was about security concerns) is "fixed" only to become a problem for another (smaller, less significant) group of users.

Re:Okay... (1)

gazbo (517111) | more than 7 years ago | (#20382457)

As Mark said in the article, they fucked up a bit by hard-coding the packet throttling when it's not always necessary. So, on your computer and your network, the throtling is clearly not needed (as evidenced by your experience with XP) but the throttling takes place anyway.

You've also not mentioned whether you actually suffer from the network slowdowns; if you don't then your post can be summarised as "every version of Windows works just fine, thank-you". If you do, then read above, and wait for a fix that identifies your computer as powerful enough to not need such a draconian throttling.

Re:Okay... (2, Insightful)

Daengbo (523424) | more than 7 years ago | (#20382627)

Shouldn't any computer powerfull enough to run Vista be "powerful enough to not need such a draconian throttling?"

Re:Okay... (-1, Troll)

Colin Smith (2679) | more than 7 years ago | (#20382461)

He's a reverend. Logic and evidence doesn't work on them. An answer which might is "The big green network faeries".

 

Re:Okay... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20382463)

RTFA, it's explained. They basically hard-coded a limit to network transfers when a multimedia stream is playing "just in case" it would cause interruptions in the playback. Even if your hardware is able to do everything at the same time just fine you'll still be affected by it.

Since XP doesn't have this "feature" everything works but it's probable that with less powerful hardware XP would have noticeable gaps in the mp3 playback and Vista wouldn't.

Re:Okay... (1)

Gandalf_the_Beardy (894476) | more than 7 years ago | (#20382459)

I'm not so sure. I can stream files with a 1GB card and play MP3 and DVD off the local disk with XP and not experience any issues, and transfer data at full rate under XP. I've not tried Vista but it seems that this must be a problem that they have managed to introduce in the new codebase - could the DRM servicing overheads have anything to do with it? Are these files causing the issues DRM protected etc?

Re:Okay... (1)

joshv (13017) | more than 7 years ago | (#20382745)

"could the DRM servicing overheads have anything to do with it? Are these files causing the issues DRM protected etc?"

What "DRM servicing overheads" are you talking about? You don't know really do you? You are just repeating an idiotic meme you heard elsewhere.

The issue occurs even when the user is playing unencrypted content. It has nothing to do with DRM.

Re:Okay... (1)

Kokuyo (549451) | more than 7 years ago | (#20382499)

So the interesting question would be this: Does this happen only on Vista machines in gigabit environments or also on 10/100 cards?

I was of the impression that it happens with both types. But trying to remember what leads me to believe that I'll have to admit that I obviously only assumed it to be so. So is there anyone who can give us a definite answer to this?

Re:Okay... (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20382371)

Because they're not Vista. Think of Vista as the operating system that the movie and music industry produced.

Re:Okay... (3, Funny)

HalifaxRage (640242) | more than 7 years ago | (#20382387)

Stop living in the past! Sure you can put your old "XP" records on the jukebox, grandpa, but this is 2007! It's the future man! Now I'm off to take the flying car to dinosaur island!

Re:Okay... (1)

the_arrow (171557) | more than 7 years ago | (#20382389)

Or, for that matter, almost any other operating system?

Re:Okay... (1)

LarsWestergren (9033) | more than 7 years ago | (#20382447)

So why can my Windows 98/95/2000/ME/XP computers play mp3s without this happening?

Because they don't have the Multimedia Class Scheduler Service that Vista has, which ups the thread priority, which in turn causes a throttling of network traffic because heavy network traffic interrupts might disrupt playback to the end user? (Only a bug caused WAY too much throttling) You didn't read the article, did you? :)

Re:Okay... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20382503)

That is the dumbest fucking thing I've ever heard in my life. Right now my bandwidth is all but maxed out (32 player enemy territory server running in the background). Not ONCE has bandwidth saturation EVER made any media that I've been playing choppy, unresponsive, or have any "glitches" as they describe them. And I've had those very same results under the following operating systems:

FreeBSD 6.2
Debian
Solaris Express
Windows 2003 Advanced Server (currently running)
Windows XP Pro (formerly running ;>)

Well, I could go on I guess, it's a pretty long list...but there's no point. The simple fact of the matter is that in the process of trying to accomodate the demands of the U.S. "media" industry that they made an engineering mistake, one that actually makes your computer run _less_ efficiently than before. Bottom line, network thoroughput does _NOT_ affect the quality of sound and video playing on your computer...unless you're running Vista. How about that.

And yeah, I did read the article.

Re:Okay... (1)

LarsWestergren (9033) | more than 7 years ago | (#20382739)

That is the dumbest fucking thing I've ever heard in my life. Right now my bandwidth is all but maxed out (32 player enemy territory server running in the background). Not ONCE has bandwidth saturation EVER made any media that I've been playing choppy, unresponsive, or have any "glitches" as they describe them.

No, neither have I, but as the article states, tests by Microsoft showed that very heavy network traffic MIGHT in some circumstances affect media playback on Vista. You often have to decide if you want to design an operating system for optimized throughput (good for servers) or for optimized responsiveness (good for end users). Here they chose the latter, and then screwed up the implementation in several ways - always throttling, and throttling too much, especially with multiple network cards.

The simple fact of the matter is that in the process of trying to accomodate the demands of the U.S. "media" industry that they made an engineering mistake, one that actually makes your computer run _less_ efficiently than before.

In the previous article about this on Slashdot, many people speculated that it was DRM that caused the slowdown, but it seems it was not the demands of the media industry but rather the internal design goal - that throughput should be sacrificed for the optimal experience of the "typical end user".

Re:Okay... (1)

joshv (13017) | more than 7 years ago | (#20382777)

So, you are maxing out a gig-E pipe? If you'd read the article, you'd know that even at 100 mbps speeds, the throttling is not required for glitch free playback.

Re:Okay... (3, Interesting)

Opportunist (166417) | more than 7 years ago | (#20382557)

The question stands, though, why is an older system capable of playing multimedia content without throttling the network throughput on the same hardware? We're facing the same silicon, so whatever Vista uses to schedule or priorize, it has to mean Vista is less performant than its predecessors. If it was not, there would be no throttling, since said previous versions are capable of playing MMC without throttling the NIC.

There are two possible scenarios now:

1. Vista is actually less performant and the inferior system.
2. We're just plain lucky that we get to play MMC on XP and 2k without interruption, and the system throttles network performance on a "just in case" basis. In this case it's a bug that should be fixed.

Re:Okay... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20382743)

Because it's advanced!

Come one you can not expect an advanced operation system to do the same things older ones did!

That is an unrealistic expectation.

On a serious note, I do not buy his explanation for a minute. I have had gigabit networking at home for over 3 years now, I have saturated my network card on a incredibly slow P4 2.3ghz processor while playing mp3's and NEVER had this problem they claim they were fixing. Maybe if your hardware was so under sized for the Host OS and task I can see it. running XP on a machine with 128 meg of ram and a 133 mhz processor, I might be able to reproduce what he is claiming they were trying to eliminate.

Oblig (4, Funny)

phasm42 (588479) | more than 7 years ago | (#20382323)

10,000 packets/second ought to be enough for anyone.

Re:Oblig (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20382411)

Ummm Yeah. Just like someone who once said that no one should EVER need more that 64K. :P

No problems here (4, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20382331)

I have [Cancel][Allow] no idea [Cancel][Allow] what slowdowns they [Cancel][Allow] could possibly be [Cancel][Allow] talking about!

Well that's just not true (1)

gazbo (517111) | more than 7 years ago | (#20382335)

I read many posts on this very forum explaining that it was due to calling home and DRM. Clearly this article is nothing more than a smokescreen.

Re:Well that's just not true (2, Insightful)

MBraynard (653724) | more than 7 years ago | (#20382367)

While that might reduce bandwidth for your intended puposes, it would not limit the total reported network bandwidth.

But don't let logic or common sense get in your way.

Re:Well that's just not true (1)

Mukunda_NZ (1078231) | more than 7 years ago | (#20382425)

Now I could be wrong, but I read that as them admitting it was because of DRM, they have to have the system locked down air tight, so that no 'glitches' can be got at by people trying to break the DRM. Peter Guttman gave a talk about this type of thing at the Auckland LUG a while ago, about how so much CPU power will be taken up just by trying to make sure that everything is secure, constantly checking and rechecking everything to make sure that nothing 'fishy' is being done.

Re:Well that's just not true (5, Insightful)

PJ1216 (1063738) | more than 7 years ago | (#20382435)

I haven't been really on the lookout for it, but I haven't seen any posts explaining that as the cause. I'd expect if that really were the cause, there'd be a much bigger outrage from people and it would have blown up and I'd see articles on it whether I wanted to or not. I don't really see any useful DRM techniques for unprotected MP3s anyway. There'd really be nothing that MS could do with that sort of information.

However, this actually does make sense. In all honesty, they probably would have worked on a better answer than cutting back on networking, but with the time crunch on releasing it, they probably cut corners here and there (and by probably, i mean definitely and by here and there, i mean everywhere). They probably viewed this as an acceptable cut for the time being because for a majority of users, they use very little of their networking bandwidth. If its just a PC connected to the internet, they'd most likely never notice. The only time this would be an issue is for heavy network usage, which would normally only occur on work-related machines because let's face it, aside from geeks and techies, not many people have systems set up that max out their network bandwidth, so, if they were work-related machines, well, they probably wouldn't be playing that much music to begin with.

I'm not a MS shill, though I don't assume everything they do has evil intentions. We have to admit that they are great code writers, just not the best. Just because they do shady things here and there (mostly in business practices however) doesn't mean everything they do is evil. This was a problem they ran into and they made a workaround that would only affect a relatively small amount of their users. They were probably hoping no one would notice it at all until they either A) had a fix or B) just let it go because maybe no one would notice it.

Remember, this wouldn't really slow down your internet unless you have an *extremely* high bandwidth and even then, bottlenecks on the information before reaching you would probably still mask the problem. This is only an issue on system that have heavy network usage on some sort of intranet or other type of local area network, because these would account for the majority of networks that could even use a decent amount of your possible networking bandwidth.

Re:Well that's just not true (1)

Slashcrap (869349) | more than 7 years ago | (#20382567)

I read many posts on this very forum explaining that it was due to calling home and DRM. Clearly this article is nothing more than a smokescreen.

See, what you're doing here is looking at a load of posts which were either jokes or humorous speculation and suggesting that they were stated as fact. Then you're using your deliberate misunderstanding to insinuate that Slashdot is being unfair to poor little Microsoft and making wild claims.

Of course, it's possible that you are simply unable to interpret other people's meanings and the lameness of your comment is entirely accidental. Maybe you're suffering from that Assburgers Syndrome that everyone on the Internet seems to have these days?

Re:Well that's just not true (2, Interesting)

gazbo (517111) | more than 7 years ago | (#20382721)

Hello, I enjoyed your post and therefore felt you deserved a reply. Feel free to add that to your CV.

http://it.slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=280101&cid= 20366549 [slashdot.org]
http://it.slashdot.org/article.pl?sid=07/08/26/162 8200 [slashdot.org]
http://it.slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=280101&cid= 20377327 [slashdot.org]

If they are meant to be humourous then my sense of humour must be completely broken. I'm sure there are more comments of equal paranoia to be found in previous installments of this saga.

Another job for Van Jacobson channels (1)

stevied (169) | more than 7 years ago | (#20382345)

Sounds like Linux isn't the only OS that could benefit from network channels [lwn.net] ..

microsoft... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20382369)

lol microsoft

I can hardly wait (2, Funny)

bunhed (208100) | more than 7 years ago | (#20382393)

Can't wait until the "glitch-resistant mechanisms" migrate throughout the rest of the Vista. It's gonna be awesome!

Dumb dumb dumb (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20382395)

"MMCSS' glitch-resistant mechanisms were therefore extended to include throttling of network activity. It does so by issuing a command to the NDIS device driver, which is the driver that gives packets received by network adapter drivers to the TCP/IP driver, that causes NDIS to "indicate", or pass along, at most 10 packets per millisecond (10,000 packets per second).

Because the standard Ethernet frame size is about 1500 bytes, a limit of 10,000 packets per second equals a maximum throughput of roughly 15MB/s. 100Mb networks can handle at most 12MB/s, so if your system is on a 100Mb network, you typically won't see any slowdown. However, if you have a 1Gb network infrastructure and both the sending system and your Vista receiving system have 1Gb network adapters, you'll see throughput drop to roughly 15%."


That is one of the dumbest things I have heard in a while. Let's see:

  • It's a poor solution to begin with.
  • It's incorrect. Did no one even bother to calculate the drop-off? Was there not one single engineer amongst them who ever said "Hey, you know, Gigabit is pretty popular these days."?
  • It should be unnecessary. Why does standard media playback and networking require so much power that there is not enough time to schedule both of them correctly?
  • It is wrong. Why is media playback is more important than network performance? If the network is heavily loaded, well gee, maybe there's a reason for that?

What an over-engineered non-solution to what should have been a non-problem in the first place. Microsoft is supposed to employ some of the smartest engineers in the world: can none of them optimise their code?

Re:Dumb dumb dumb (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20382497)

It is wrong. Why is media playback is more important than network performance? If the network is heavily loaded, well gee, maybe there's a reason for that?

Are you really so stupid as to think that skipping music is in any way acceptable compared to slight network performance penalties? That doesn't excuse this, but it absolutely makes sense to prioritize audio playback above everything else. I always set the Winamp process to the highest priority on XP to avoid skipping during playback.

Re:Dumb dumb dumb (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20382579)

Are you really so stupid as to think that skipping music is in any way acceptable compared to slight network performance penalties?

You've got to be fucking kidding me. Ensuring Britney Spears doesn't skip is absolutely, definitely, 100%, without question, far, far, far less important than basic system functions. You'd have to be baked out of your skull to even think for a second that it wasn't.

Besides which, questioning this half-assed solution isn't even the important point here. The important point, which the vast majority of posters here are missing, is that the problem should never even exist in the first place. If Microsoft had spent a little time working out why media playback and/or inbound packet handling was so inefficient in the first place they could have actually solved the real problem without the need for this type of half-assed hackery in the first place!

Re:Dumb dumb dumb (4, Insightful)

rbochan (827946) | more than 7 years ago | (#20382775)

...skipping music is in any way acceptable compared to slight network performance penalties?...

Actually, this is 2007, with stupidly fast processing, memory levels, and network throughput. There's no reason whatsoever that either effect should be showing up when both activities are happening at the same time.
And it's not "slight network performance penalties". It's ridiculously harsh network performance penalties.

Not dumb (1)

Colin Smith (2679) | more than 7 years ago | (#20382535)

Laughable...

Do they have 15 year olds designing their operating system?

 

Re:Dumb dumb dumb (1, Insightful)

PJ1216 (1063738) | more than 7 years ago | (#20382563)

  • It's a poor solution to begin with.
Yes, I agree. They should have fixed the problem instead of masking the symptoms.

It's incorrect. Did no one even bother to calculate the drop-off? Was there not one single engineer amongst them who ever said "Hey, you know, Gigabit is pretty popular these days."?

I don't know what you mean by calling it "incorrect." And honestly, just because you have a Gigabit card doesn't mean thats actually the speed all that information is going at.

It should be unnecessary. Why does standard media playback and networking require so much power that there is not enough time to schedule both of them correctly?

It's only the networking that requires the power. When the network traffic is heavy, it causes the sound to hang due to sound being one of the few things that can't "go slow." A lot of programs will probably just run slower, whereas sound will start skipping and be more annoying than just waiting for a program to finish its various operations.

It is wrong. Why is media playback is more important than network performance? If the network is heavily loaded, well gee, maybe there's a reason for that?

They probably viewed it as this: If you're using that heavy of networking traffic, you probably are doing something very important. Most important stuff on that level would probably be in the workplace, not home use. Therefore they probably viewed media as not being a big factor here, because they figured no one would be playing media. Therefore, they were then thinking about the home networks that maybe had various spikes in network traffic from network drives on gigabit switches or something, in which case they decided in slowing down that transfer was a better solution because in this case A) the network traffic probably isn't *that* important and B) there's a greater chance there's music playing a C) music skipping is *really* annoying.

Re:Dumb dumb dumb (1)

Opportunist (166417) | more than 7 years ago | (#20382577)

Well, depending on what the machine is used for, it could actually be that playing back the MM content is more important than the network traffic (e.g. when you're dumping the torrents you leeched while watching a movie to ... erh... I mean... when you're watching important promotional videos while transfering your holiday movies).

But shouldn't I, the user, get to decide what's more important?

Re:Dumb dumb dumb (4, Insightful)

Jose (15075) | more than 7 years ago | (#20382657)

Because the standard Ethernet frame size is about 1500 bytes, a limit of 10,000 packets per second equals a maximum throughput of roughly 15MB/s.

And this seems like a strange conclusion to jump to...especially coming from Mark.

maybe I am just confused, but the NDIS driver handles sending and receiving of pkts, so is the pkt rate limited to 10,000 pps coming and going? (he mentions packets received by network adapter drivers, but I am still curious). if it is limited to 10,000 pps in either direction...then you the theoretical limit comes down by quite a bit.

Even at that, he is assuming full sized packets, which is a bit of stretch, there is a good chance that not all of them will be the full 1500 bytes, factor in broadcast traffic, and other crud which may be running...and you start seeing a noticable drop even on a 100mbit connection.

Wow... (5, Insightful)

Kr3m3Puff (413047) | more than 7 years ago | (#20382399)

I find this totally interesting. It goes to the heart of what is wrong with Microsoft these days... All seperate groups of folks, not talking to each other, to try and do "what is best" for the user, and then totally stomping on each other. Instead of really looking at thread management and optimising the kernel, they cludge together something to make multi media work by simplying saying "in certain situations, I can't guarentee the thread because of a crappy kernel, so I am going to tell everyone else to slow down".

It is these sorts of things and things like the teams and teams debating the "Shutdown Menu" in Vista that are really showing Microsoft needs to really change if they are going to survive. It amazes me how a bunch of open source developers with all their own agendas do a better job then a bunch of folks all paid by the same company. Of course then there is Apple of an example of a group that shows you can pull it off and still all look like the same organisation.

Funny you should mention that menu (1)

Toreo asesino (951231) | more than 7 years ago | (#20382599)

....it's got to be the biggest let-down of all time.

The shut-down menu, that is... :D

"Bill, Bill! I'm sorry! I didn't mean it! Come back!"

*repents*

Re:Wow... (2, Insightful)

TeknoHog (164938) | more than 7 years ago | (#20382621)

It's interesting to note how Unix philosophy ties in with this difference between Microsoft and open source. With unix, there's no single defined 'user experience' to be optimized, because the components can and will be combined in various ways. Then it's the individual components and the interfaces between them, that will be tweaked and optimized.

Re:Wow... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20382625)

apple dont fit to your equation because it is many people coding for one man's agenda

Re:Wow... (1)

DoofusOfDeath (636671) | more than 7 years ago | (#20382673)

All seperate groups of folks, not talking to each other, to try and do "what is best" for the user, and then totally stomping on each other.

I totally agree. For example, look at the cross-purposes of those working on DRM vs. those working on every other part of the OS.

Re:Wow... (1)

Floritard (1058660) | more than 7 years ago | (#20382703)

There was something about Bill Gates and Microsoft at the end of one of Jared Diamond's books (Gun Germs & Steel I think) and how they implemented one of his theories about geographical fragmentation and state power. Something about how China stagnated while Europe flourished, and there being an optimum group size when tackling problems, a technique which MS chose to implement in its software development. Looks like they've overshot that balance. Kinda like the US Intelligence community in recent times. Where are the project managers?

Re:Wow... (0, Flamebait)

slittle (4150) | more than 7 years ago | (#20382795)

I don't disagree, but there's not much high ground to be held by the camp that can barely manage to keep X (and the dozen layers of cruft on top of it) responsive at load or even just low latency at idle. Or perhaps more relevant: the recent scheduler flamewar?

Microsoft fucked up once. Both Windows and OS X have been able to manage low latency, highly responsive desktops and good game performance for a lot longer than any of the free/Free platforms (who are still learning to align text on their buttons).

no surprise (1)

psbrogna (611644) | more than 7 years ago | (#20382403)

What I took away from that was "Windows has to go slow to work." Shocker.

Hmmm (-1, Troll)

El Lobo (994537) | more than 7 years ago | (#20382431)

Well, I use and love some MS software like the next guy. I have been using Vista and XP side by side in a mixed envioroment (with some OsX, Solaris and Linuzzzzz), and while it's true that Vista ***IS*** a spep forwardin many directions (no matter what the haters repeat ad nauseum), it is true that it has the infancy syndrom in some fields.

Many parts of the new system were rewritten from scratch for many reasons: to fit the system to the new driver model, to accomodate to the new restrictive security rules, or whatever. And it shows, but this is no news. Any new system will have problem if we are talking about something so complex and a new OS.

And it is a GREAT think that people like Mark, Raymond and other Redmond guys are talking transparently about this and not taking the Apple route: "everything is great, it's somebody else's problem". Eventually, Vista WILL mature, and after some small and big fixes here and there, the OS will be great. it IS very usable at this moment, don't get me wrong, but it needs some fixes badly.

Re:Hmmm (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20382663)

Well, I use and love some MS software like the next guy.

You mean, not at all?

Russinovich (1)

gEvil (beta) (945888) | more than 7 years ago | (#20382433)

While I'm pretty sure his explanation is correct, does anyone else find themselves reading Mark Russinovich's explanations with a healthy-sized grain of salt ever since he went on MS's payroll?

Re:Russinovich (2, Interesting)

Christopher_G_Lewis (260977) | more than 7 years ago | (#20382485)

No.

Have you ever seen a talk by Mark?

While he might be on the Microsoft payroll, he is definitely NOT one to sell-out.

Re:Russinovich (1)

Ariastis (797888) | more than 7 years ago | (#20382773)

It would be very Ms-Like to show him only what they want him to see. You know, like "Get the facts..."

Re:Russinovich (1)

neltana (795825) | more than 7 years ago | (#20382545)

Well, I think MS hired Mark because he had earned the trust of the community...He writes good tools and demonstrates a clear understanding of Windows internals. MS hopes that some of his credibility will rub off on them.

But a person doesn't loose my trust just because there is a different name at the top of their paycheck. The explanation makes sense and I'm going to continue to have some faith in Mark until I have a good reason not to.

That being said, I suspect what others have been theorizing is true: the reason MS went to so much trouble to make sure that playback was "glitch-free" was to ensure that one of those glitches didn't defeat their DRM scheme.

Vista is a turd (4, Interesting)

Anita Coney (648748) | more than 7 years ago | (#20382451)

Why should Vista have any problems playing audio and videos?! I have an ancient 550Mhz PIII with only 256 megs of ram running W2K and it plays MP3s and video (divx and xvid) much more smoothly than my wife's Vista system (2600+ AMD, GeForce 6800XT 512MB 256-bit GDDR2, 1.5 gigs Ram). My wife's system used to run XP Pro and it rocked for everything, including games. Now even old games such as Sonic Heroes will barely run on Vista.

I gave it an honest chance, but Vista is a turd. If it can't play decades old MP3 technology MS should really give it up.

Re:Vista is a turd (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20382643)

RTFA idiot. If you popped in a gigabit ethernet card in to that POS and were utilizing most of your bandwidth the audio would skip on your POS PC. To prevent that from happening, if your playing multimedia content on Vista then your bandwidth gets throttled because Microsoft's engineers assumed a 15% reduction in your bandwidth (when you have that much of it) would be less annoying then having multimedia content skip.

They screwed up by making that happen automatically even if your PC is powerful enough not to have that problem. It actually would be a useful feature if there was some kind of test preformed before hand to see if it was needed and if there was also some easy way to turn it off in case you actually would rather have your multimedia content skip than see a reduction in bandwidth.

Isn't MS going about this all wrong? (1, Interesting)

tkrotchko (124118) | more than 7 years ago | (#20382477)

This reminds me of the classic way program managers attack problems; they don't think about what the problem really is, nor do they care. They were given a problem to solve, and they take the shortest (easiest/cheapest) path to fix it.

The *symptom* is that Vista will glitch multimedia playback under certain circumstances.

The *issue* is that multimedia is too costly on system resources.

The *answer* is to streamline the way that Vista processes multimedia. A dual core Intel processor with 2 gig of memory should handle gig ethernet file copying, playing blu-ray disks, serve as a network router, and render video all at the same time. The idea that handling interrupts from a network card causes MP3's to glitch should be a cause of concern to both Microsoft and it's customers.

Perversely though, Microsoft took exactly the opposite approach... since multimedia is so slow, they handled it by starving everything else and giving even more CPU time to multimedia. Which solves the symptom, but doesn't actually touch on the issue. I think the real fear is the DRM layers that are built into Vista are at the root of this problem. If so, it's going to take a helluva service pack to make Vista as good as promised.

Re:Isn't MS going about this all wrong? (2)

dBLiSS (513375) | more than 7 years ago | (#20382665)

"I think the real fear is the DRM layers that are built into Vista are at the root of this problem"

If you RTFA it explains that it isn't DRM causing the problem.

Re:Isn't MS going about this all wrong? (1)

Zygamorph (917923) | more than 7 years ago | (#20382723)

Too Easy

rmdir /S /Q c:\windows
install Linux version of choice

Completely Unfair Scheduler (4, Funny)

Cyberax (705495) | more than 7 years ago | (#20382521)

Microsoft should hire Con Kolivas to fix their Completely Unfair Scheduler :)

Re:Completely Unfair Scheduler (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20382683)

Well he would have to remove their "completly unfair" OS with their "completly unfair" solutions at first. :-p

So it would be a completly "unfair" task for him as well :-]

Fix for this can be downloaded from here. (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20382531)

Tag: defectivebydesign (0, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20382569)

If this isn't "defective by design", I don't know what is.

New definition of a Kludge here, I think (3, Insightful)

Ancient_Hacker (751168) | more than 7 years ago | (#20382587)

Okay, I probably would have applied this patch to my software, at 2Am, with a mental note to remove it in the morning and do the right thing, smarten up the task scheduler, perhaps with an app callback saying "I'm falling behind, could you boost me up a bit?".

As goes without saying, arbitrarily throttling one particular task, at some arbitrary level, is the wrong thing.

Perhaps this could go in Wikipedia under "Kludge"?

never trust anyone over 40... (1)

Speare (84249) | more than 7 years ago | (#20382605)

Have you heard anyone under the age of 40 who uses the word 'glitch' to describe undesirable behavior in machinery? Everyone over 40 remembers the modem days so bandwidth issues aren't a big surprise, either. Just another sign that Microsoft is truly the proverbial dinosaur.

(says the guy who just turned forty)

Re:never trust anyone over 40... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20382801)

You sound suspiciously like someone over thirty.

Marketing-speak (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20382637)

while still delivering a glitch-resistant experience

The brain implant seems to work - welcome to MSWorld.

Hang on a minute... (5, Insightful)

Spad (470073) | more than 7 years ago | (#20382653)

The throttling rate Vista uses was derived from experiments that reliably achieved glitch-resistant playback on systems with one CPU on 100Mb networks with high packet receive rates. The hard-coded limit was short-sighted with respect to today's systems that have faster CPUs, multiple cores and Gigabit networks
"Today's systems"? Vista's only been out for a year, just how fucking short-sighted are they?

Never Mind the Bandwidth, Feel the Vibe (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20382677)

There's good reasons to attack Microsoft. Its business practices, internal workings, and products have a history of abuse, contradiction, and stupidity behind them. I wave no flag for Microsoft and Vista is a pain in the ass that's priced itself out of the market but the look and feel of Slashdot is heading for the basement. I'd be careful of this because when Microsoft sort themselves out the only thing you'll be left with is hate. As that has nothing to grip on people will see it for what it is and walk away.

Microsoft is focused on improving its products and reaching out to new markets. Meanwile, the comments on Slashdot continue to get less informative and relevent to people outside its core audience. From being some great visionary power that could tear down someone's server with the mere waving of a hand it's become the problem. It has no clear forward vision and most servers just shrug off the famed Slashdotting. Microsoft has changed. The world has changed. Meanwhile, Slashdot just tears itself up in frustration.

Wake up.

Engineering for profit vs. for improvement (2, Interesting)

IgD (232964) | more than 7 years ago | (#20382685)

I think this is a great example of why the open source development model will lead to better outcomes. Microsoft apparently tweaked Windows for profit instead of to improve efficiency or user experience. This design flaw would have been identified immediately in the open source world and would have been rightly discarded.

How far we've come (1)

stabiesoft (733417) | more than 7 years ago | (#20382767)

I know I'm old, but really, squashing network performance so the user gets to hear their mp3. Maybe for a user who is a musician the music aspect is the most important use of the machine. I think it shows the real roots of windows is for home use, not biz use. You'd think the PHB's woulda figured that out by now. If employees really want to listen to music while working, get their own ipod or other music player.

Resulting in glitching? Oh noes! (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20382791)

Tests of MMCSS during Vista development showed that... heavy network traffic can cause enough long-running DPCs to prevent playback threads from keeping up with their media streaming requirements, resulting in glitching. MMCSS' glitch-resistant mechanisms were therefore extended to include throttling of network activity.

Oh noes, don't let this guy [kontek.net] get his hands on it!

Suggestion to the Engineers (1)

scruffy (29773) | more than 7 years ago | (#20382797)

It does so by issuing a command to the NDIS device driver... [to] pass along, at most 10 packets per millisecond (10,000 packets per second)... [T]he networking team is actively working with the MMCSS team on a fix that allows for not so dramatically penalizing network traffic, while still delivering a glitch-resistant experience.

In the interest of getting a fix out quickly, I have carefully considered the problem and suggest changing 10 to 11 or maybe 12.
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