Modern Operating Systems by Herbert Bos ...
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Modern Operating Systems by Herbert Bos and Andrew...
Modern_Operating_Systems_by_Herbert_Bos_and_Andrew_S._Tanenbaum_4th_Ed.pdf-M ODERN O PERATING S YSTEMS
Modern Operating Systems by Herbert...
Modern_Operating_Systems_by_Herbert_Bos_and_Andrew_S._Tanenbaum_4th_Ed.pdf-M ODERN O PERATING S YSTEMS
Page 774
SEC. 10.3
fork code
New process
Same process
1. Fork call
3. exec call
4. sh overlaid
with ls
PID = 501
PID = 748
PID = 748
Allocate child’s task structure
Fill child’s task structure from parent
Allocate child’s stack and user area
Fill child’s user area from parent
Allocate PID for child
Set up child to share parent’s text
Copy page tables for data and stack
Set up sharing of open files
Copy parent’s registers to child
Find the executable program
Verify the execute permission
Read and verify the header
Copy arguments, environ to kernel
Free the old address space
Allocate new address space
Copy arguments, environ to stack
Reset signals
Initialize registers
exec code
2. New sh
Figure 10-8.
The steps in executing the command
typed to the shell.
Threads in Linux
We discussed threads in a general way in Chap. 2.
Here we will focus on ker-
nel threads in Linux, particularly on the differences among the Linux thread model
and other UNIX systems.
In order to better understand the unique capabilities pro-
vided by the Linux model, we start with a discussion of some of the challenging
decisions present in multithreaded systems.
The main issue in introducing threads is maintaining the correct traditional
UNIX semantics. First consider
Suppose that a process with multiple (kernel)
threads does a
system call. Should all the other threads be created in the new
process? For the moment, let us answer that question with yes. Suppose that one
of the other threads was blocked reading from the keyboard. Should the corres-
ponding thread in the new process also be blocked reading from the keyboard? If
so, which one gets the next line typed?
If not, what should that thread be doing in
the new process?
The same problem holds for many other things threads can do.
In a sin-
gle-threaded process, the problem does not arise because the one and only thread
cannot be blocked when calling
Now consider the case that the other threads
are not created in the child process. Suppose that one of the not-created threads
holds a mutex that the one-and-only thread in the new process tries to acquire after
doing the
The mutex will never be released and the one thread will hang for-
ever. Numerous other problems exist, too.
There is no simple solution.

Page 775
CHAP. 10
File I/O is another problem area. Suppose that one thread is blocked reading
from a file and another thread closes the file or does an
to change the current
file pointer. What happens next? Who knows?
Signal handling is another thorny issue. Should signals be directed at a specific
thread or just at the process?
A SIGFPE (floating-point exception) should proba-
bly be caught by the thread that caused it. What if it does not catch it?
Should just
that thread be killed, or all threads?
Now consider the SIGINT signal, generated
by the user at the keyboard. Which thread should catch that?
Should all threads
share a common set of signal masks?
All solutions to these and other problems
usually cause something to break somewhere. Getting the semantics of threads
right (not to mention the code) is a nontrivial business.
Linux supports kernel threads in an interesting way that is worth looking at.
The implementation is based on ideas from 4.4BSD, but kernel threads were not
enabled in that distribution because Berkeley ran out of money before the C library
could be rewritten to solve the problems discussed above.
Historically, processes were resource containers and threads were the units of
execution. A process contained one or more threads that shared the address space,
open files, signal handlers, alarms, and everything else. Everything was clear and
simple as described above.
In 2000, Linux introduced a powerful new system call,
, that blurred the
distinction between processes and threads and possibly even inverted the primacy
of the two concepts.
is not present in any other version of UNIX.
cally, when a new thread was created, the original thread(s) and the new one shared
everything but their registers. In particular, file descriptors for open files, signal
handlers, alarms, and other global properties were per process, not per thread.
did was make it possible for each of these aspects and others to be
process specific or thread specific. It is called as follows:
pid = clone(function, stack
ptr, sharing
flags, arg);
The call creates a new thread, either in the current process or in a new process, de-
pending on
If the new thread is in the current process, it shares the
address space with the existing threads, and every subsequent write to any byte in
the address space by any thread is immediately visible to all the other threads in
the process.
On the other hand, if the address space is not shared, then the new
thread gets an exact copy of the address space, but subsequent writes by the new
thread are not visible to the old ones. These semantics are the same as POSIX
In both cases, the new thread begins executing at
, which is called with
as its only parameter. Also in both cases, the new thread gets its own private
stack, with the stack pointer initialized to
parameter is a bitmap that allows a finer grain of sharing
than traditional UNIX systems. Each of the bits can be set independently of the
other ones, and each of them determines whether the new thread copies some data

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