atime ctime mtime
uname -r :3.2.0
uname -r :2.6.26-8-co-0.7.7
atime updates are by far the biggest IO performance deficiency that Linux has today. Getting rid of atime updates would give us more everyday Linux performance than all the pagecache speedups of the past 10 years, _combined_.
As of 2.6.30 (9 June 2009), Linux defaults to
relatime, so that it will not
update atime on all file reads. The behavior offers sufficient performance for most purposes and should not break any significant applications. Extended discussion of filesystem performance preceded the decision.
relatime by default was the first patch Linux applied following the 2.6.29 release. In initial patches
relatime only updated atime if atime < mtime or atime < ctime;