Wednesday, December 10, 2008

pthreads according to S. Wang

Boost thread is a wrapper around pthread? But boost creator disagrees -- see other post.

Think of pthread as a c library on solaris. There's a similar pthread library on linux. There's another pthread library on aix ... All of them have the same application programmer interface. If i have a c program using the solaris pthread library, and port to linux, then it should be able to link to the linux pthread library.

Let's zoom into the solaris (or linux or aix ...) pthread library. It is probably a bunch of c functions. Each probably makes system calls to the OS to create, schedule threads, yield, join, acquire lock ... I feel a thread uses system resources. All system resources are "guarded" by the OS software layer, so I feel thread operations (join, signal, unlock ...) must go through OS.

How is a native kernel thread created in the OS? I feel all native thread creation must go through OS, since OS will soon schedule and control the new born thread. In linux, thread is created by fork-exec, much like a process, with one notable exception -- the new born thread doesn't get an independent heap. Its heap is shared with the parent process. In contrast, a regular fork-exec child process and its parent can't share data on their 2 heaps. See P68 [[OO multithreading using c++]]

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