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

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3.9. Kernel Semaphores

Semaphores provide a method of synchronizing access to a sharable resource by multiple processes or threads. A semaphore can be used as a binary lock for exclusive access or as a counter, allowing for concurrent access by multiple threads to a finite number of shared resources.

In the counter implementation, the semaphore value is initialized to the number of shared resources (these semaphores are sometimes referred to as counting semaphores). Each time a process needs a resource, the semaphore value is decremented to indicate there is one less of the resource. When the process is finished with the resource, the semaphore value is incremented. A 0 semaphore value tells the calling process that no resources are currently ...

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