A new way of sleeping in the Linux kernel

Posted by Roger on Oct 2, 2008 11:27 AM EDT
IBM/developerWorks; By Avinesh Kumar
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Like files, processes are fundamental to any UNIX® operating system. Processes are live entities executing the instructions of an executable file. Apart from executing its instructions, a process might be engaged in managing open files, processor context, address space, and data related to the program, among other things. The Linux kernel keeps complete information about a process in a process descriptor defined as struct task_struct. You can see the various fields of struct task_struct in the Linux kernel source file include/linux/sched.h.

The Linux Kernel version 2.6.25 introduces a new Linux process sleeping state, TASK_KILLABLE: If a process is sleeping killably in this new state, it works like TASK_UNINTERRUPTIBLE with the bonus that it can respond to fatal signals. This feature is generally an improvement over the existing options—after all, it is another way to keep from getting stuck with dead processes.

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