My first experience with Lemmy was thinking that the UI was beautiful, and lemmy.ml (the first instance I looked at) was asking people not to join because they already had 1500 users and were struggling to scale.

1500 users just doesn’t seem like much, it seems like the type of load you could handle with a Raspberry Pi in a dusty corner.

Are the Lemmy servers struggling to scale because of the federation process / protocols?

Maybe I underestimate how much compute goes into hosting user generated content? Users generate very little text, but uploading pictures takes more space. Users are generating millions of bytes of content and it’s overloading computers that can handle billions of bytes with ease, what happened? Am I missing something here?

Or maybe the code is just inefficient?

Which brings me to the title’s question: Does Lemmy benefit from using Rust? None of the problems I can imagine are related to code execution speed.

If the federation process and protocols are inefficient, then everything is being built on sand. Popular protocols are hard to change. How often does the HTTP protocol change? Never. The language used for the code doesn’t matter in this case.

If the code is just inefficient, well, inefficient Rust is probably slower than efficient Python or JavaScript. Could the complexity of Rust have pushed the devs towards a simpler but less efficient solution that ends up being slower than garbage collected languages? I’m sure this has happened before, but I don’t know anything about the Lemmy code.

Or, again, maybe I’m just underestimating the amount of compute required to support 1500 users sharing a little bit of text and a few images?

  • @[email protected]
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    18 months ago

    That refcount++ and refcount-- needs to be synchronized between threads

    Only for things that you specifically want shared between threads – namely this (synchronized refcount) is an std::sync::Arc. What you want to share really depends on the app; in database-backed web services it’s quite common to have pretty much zero state shared across threads. Multithreaded environment doesn’t imply sharing!

    • @dragontamer
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      08 months ago

      The refcount absolutely is shared state across threads.

      If Thread#1 thinks the refcount is 5, but Thread#2 thinks the refcount is 0, you’ve got problems.

      • @[email protected]
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        18 months ago

        Again, only for things that you specifically want shared between threads.

        There’s no “the” refcount in Rust, anyhow. If you just instantiate some container or your custom data struct, like let mut x = Vec::new(); – it’s very local to where you are, it’s on the stack, it’s not reference counted at runtime at all, you cannot pass it between threads (if it’s not Send it cannot EVER cross a thread boundary in safe Rust). The standard library provides two ref-counter containers. Rc is just a basic refcount that is not thread-safe and thus also is not Send and won’t ever be allowed to cross the thread boundary in safe Rust. Arc implements atomic-based thread-safe ref-counting and thus is Send, implementing what you’re talking about, but as an opt-in per-object container, not as some behind-the-scenes global feature.