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12 April 2010, 16:16

jemalloc released as a standalone library

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A library for scalable concurrent memory allocations: jemalloc, has been released as a stand alone open source BSD-style licensed library. According to developer Jason Evans, jemalloc has been in use since 2006 and divergent versions can be found in FreeBSD and NetBSD's default system allocators and in Mozilla's Firefox.

The library was originally described in a 2006 paperPDF presented at a BSDCan conference. The developer explains that jemalloc was originally developed in 2005 as a memory allocator for a language runtime, but became superfluous to requirements after changes to the language. Evans decided to give FreeBSD an SMP-scalable allocator and began work integrating it into FreeBSD's libc, where he says "I discovered the hard way how difficult a problem fragmentation is."

In 2007, Mozilla made use of jemalloc to assist in resolving memory fragmentation issues on Windows versions of Firefox 3.0, during which time many enhancements were made to the library. Jemalloc is also used by Facebook where it has been adapted to cope with the extreme loads seen by the company's servers. Now, Evans has released jemalloc as a standalone library incorporating all the enhancements made. The current version targets only Linux and, although Evans has "no driving need" to integrate other operating systems, he does expect wider platform support to develop over time.


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