Table of Contents
If I could give you one piece of advice: never sleep with anyone crazier than yourself. But if I had to give you advice on locking: keep it simple.
Be reluctant to introduce new locks.
Strangely enough, this last one is the exact reverse of my advice when you have slept with someone crazier than yourself. And you should think about getting a big dog.
There are two main types of kernel locks. The fundamental type
is the spinlock
which is a very simple single-holder lock: if you can't get the
spinlock, you keep trying (spinning) until you can. Spinlocks are
very small and fast, and can be used anywhere.
The second type is a mutex
is like a spinlock, but you may block holding a mutex.
If you can't lock a mutex, your task will suspend itself, and be woken
up when the mutex is released. This means the CPU can do something
else while you are waiting. There are many cases when you simply
can't sleep (see Chapter 10, What Functions Are Safe To Call From Interrupts?), and so have to
use a spinlock instead.
Neither type of lock is recursive: see the section called “Deadlock: Simple and Advanced”.