[g-a-devel] [Accessibility] a11y / D-Bus / lifecycle ...

Michael Meeks michael.meeks at novell.com
Tue Dec 18 04:46:09 PST 2007

On Tue, 2007-12-18 at 12:22 +0000, Rob Taylor wrote:
> I think we can do *relatively* safe cross-process refcounting with dbus,
> but it is going to be pretty heavy - keeping a per-process (actually per
> bus-name), per-object reference count in each process and keeping one
> reference per bus name on the actual object.

	Weell ... ;-) yes, if you can fuse the IPC layer and the lifecycle
layer (as could not be done in CORBA) this is somewhat possible, though
when you have 3 parties involved it's going to get difficult:
transfering object ownership from a->b->c is quite exciting, albeit
somewhat uncommon: unless you're going to have a separate event broker
like at-spi-registryd - which is prolly what you want to do filtering,
registration etc.

> So, i guess if we do this we need to basically have a general rule of
> keeping cross-process refcounting down to a minimum and keep refcounting
> of the object proxies and remote object refcounting sepeate.

	Well, clearly minimising IPC is one thing, but guarenteeing consistency
& lifecycle is different & harder. Basically, the distributed reference
counting problem is not solved - and all the obvious solutions don't
work under some set of circumstances.

	Are you bearing in mind that all the reference counting pain is to
satisfy a situation that doesn't need to exist & should never have been
postulated ? :-) [ exposing an entire DOM ].

> I've just taken a quick look at cspi to see what's done there today, and
> it seems to have some relatively complex ideas of 'loaning' references.
> Can someone explain what's going on here?

	Sure; that's easy to explain - the idea is to reduce IPC by hiding the
remote reference count behind a local reference count. ie. the local AT
client can do a hundred ref/unrefs on it's handle and that results in
only 2 calls: a ref and an unref :-)

	The 'loan' concept is to handle references efficiently that we receive
during an event emission (AFAIR) - that is more cunning ;-) the basic
problem is we get a lot of events containing references which are 'live'
only for the lifetime of the synchronous event emission, but we don't
want to take a ref on all of them so we do:

IPC		libspi		client
-> incoming event
		create 'borrowed' reference
		->		on to libspi client code
a)				client code does a ref ...
b)		check reference - did it get reffed ?
		yes -> convert to a permanant ref
ref	<-

	As you see if a) does not occur, b) does not need to either and we save
a round-trip 'ref' call per event emission.



 michael.meeks at novell.com  <><, Pseudo Engineer, itinerant idiot

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