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Understanding the Linux Kernel, 3rd Edition by Marco Cesati, Daniel P. Bovet

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Scheduling Policy

The scheduling algorithm of traditional Unix operating systems must fulfill several conflicting objectives: fast process response time, good throughput for background jobs, avoidance of process starvation, reconciliation of the needs of low- and high-priority processes, and so on. The set of rules used to determine when and how to select a new process to run is called scheduling policy .

Linux scheduling is based on the time sharing technique: several processes run in "time multiplexing" because the CPU time is divided into slices, one for each runnable process.[*] Of course, a single processor can run only one process at any given instant. If a currently running process is not terminated when its time slice or quantum expires, a process switch may take place. Time sharing relies on timer interrupts and is thus transparent to processes. No additional code needs to be inserted in the programs to ensure CPU time sharing.

The scheduling policy is also based on ranking processes according to their priority. Complicated algorithms are sometimes used to derive the current priority of a process, but the end result is the same: each process is associated with a value that tells the scheduler how appropriate it is to let the process run on a CPU.

In Linux, process priority is dynamic. The scheduler keeps track of what processes are doing and adjusts their priorities periodically; in this way, processes that have been denied the use of a CPU for a long time interval ...

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