As I described in my previous post, Shared and Exclusive Oracle latches differ significantly. Shared latch behaves like enqueue. It has S and X incompatible modes. Moreover X mode serializes the shared latch. The contention for shared and exclusive latches has different patterns. This leads to different methods to tune such contentions.
But we do not know which latches are shared. Oracle never published the list of shared latches. Every time looking in the AWR or Statspack report we had to guess the type of contending latch. We only know that “cache buffer chains” latches became shared since in 9.2.
Oracle executable internally determines that latch is shared using flag hidden somewhere in x$kslld (v$latchname) structure. Google search shows that KSLLD means [K]ernel [S]ervice [L]ock [L]atch [D]escriptor. Unfortunately this shared flag was not externalized to SQL. It is possible to check the flag manually using oradebug peek or DTrace. But the flag offset is version and platform dependent. We need more systematic way to determine the latch type.