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From: Victor A. Wagner, Jr. (vawjr_at_[hidden])
Date: 2003-06-08 15:40:08

well, unless (likely given this biz) the words have changed meaning again,
"naked semaphore" was described by Dijkstra way back when (1964??)
a "mutex" was a variant of a semaphore which restricted signalling (V()) to
the task/process/thread/whatever that had successfully waited (P()) on it.
often a mutex would allow the _same_ task/process/thread... to wait (P())
multiple times on the same mutex withOUT deadlock, but would have to signal
(V()) the correct number of times before the mutex would be released.

Now if the definitions have changed, I apologize for the mis-understanding.

If you have some OTHER definition that discriminates between semaphore and
mutex, I'd be happy to hear it. If not, why do we have two words for the
same thing?

btw, note that IF my definition is correct, then at a minimum a mutex must
do more work than a semaphore (since it must establish "ownership" of the

At Thursday 2003-06-05 09:48, you wrote:

>"Victor A. Wagner, Jr." wrote:
> >
> > I'm baffled that they want to penalize (time and space) those for whom a
> > naked semaphore works.
>Show me please an example illustrating "naked semaphore" in work.
> > It's blatantly clear to anyone who's had to write a
> > mutex that it's additional code on TOP of a semaphore.
>Optimization strategies aside for a moment (they are different for mutexes
>semaphores) a binary semaphore can be used as "normal" POSIX mutex.
> Mutexes and semaphores
> A mutex is represented by a pair (Lock-bit, Queue). The Lock-bit is 1 if
> a thread
> is in a critical section protected by the mutex, and is 0 otherwise. In
> terms of the
> formal specification, the Lock-bit is 0 iff the mutex is NIL. The Queue
> contains the
> threads that are blocked in Acquire (awaiting its WHEN condition).
> The user code for Acquire and Release is designed for fast execution of
> a LOCK
> clause when there is no contention for its mutex. In this case an
> Acquire-Release
> pair executes a total of 5 instructions, taking 10 microseconds on a
> MicroVAX II.
> This code is compiled entirely in-line. Acquire consists of two
> sequential actions:
> test-and-set the Lock-bit (implemented atomically in the hardware); call
> a Nub
> subroutine if the bit was already set. The user code for Release is two
> sequential
> actions: clear the Lock-bit; call a Nub subroutine if the Queue is not
> empty.
> The Nub subroutine for Acquire (after acquiring the spin-lock) first
> adds the
> calling thread to the Queue. Then it tests the Lock-bit again. If it is
> still 1, this
> thread is de-scheduled and the general scheduling algorithm is invoked
> to determine
> what to do with this processor. On the other hand, if the Lock-bit is
> now 0, the
> thread is removed from the Queue, the spin-lock is released, and the
> entire Acquire
> operation (beginning at the test-and-set) is retried.
> The Nub subroutine for Release (after acquiring the spin-lock) checks to
> see if
> there are any threads in the Queue. If there are, it takes one, adds it
> to the ready
> pool, and invokes the general scheduling algorithm, which will assign
> the thread to
> a suitable processor if one is available.
> The implementation of semaphores is the same as mutexes: P is the same as
> Acquire and V is the same as Release.
> ...."
>Unsubscribe & other changes:

Victor A. Wagner Jr.
The five most dangerous words in the English language:
               "There oughta be a law"

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