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Linux Kernel Development, Third Edition by Robert Love

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8. Bottom Halves and Deferring Work

The previous chapter discussed interrupt handlers, the kernel mechanism for dealing with hardware interrupts. Interrupt handlers are an important—indeed, required—part of any operating system. Due to various limitations, however, interrupt handlers can form only the first half of any interrupt processing solution. These limitations include

• Interrupt handlers run asynchronously and thus interrupt other, potentially important, code, including other interrupt handlers. Therefore, to avoid stalling the interrupted code for too long, interrupt handlers need to run as quickly as possible.

• Interrupt handlers run with the current interrupt level disabled at best (if IRQF_DISABLED is unset), and at worst (if ...

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