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Solaris™ Internals: Core Kernel Components by Richard McDougall, Jim Mauro

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2.2. Entering Kernel Mode

In addition to entering through system calls, the system can enter kernel mode for other reasons, such as in response to a device interrupt, or to take care of a situation that could not be handled in user mode. A transfer of control to the kernel is achieved in one of three ways:

  • Through a system call

  • As the result of an interrupt

  • As the result of a processor trap

We defined a system call as the mechanism by which a user process requests a kernel service, for example, to read from a file. System calls are typically initiated from user mode by either a trap instruction or a software interrupt, depending on the microprocessor and platform. On SPARC-based platforms, system calls are initiated by issuing a specific trap instruction ...

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