Scheduler Control


cyg_scheduler_start, cyg_scheduler_lock, cyg_scheduler_unlock, cyg_scheduler_safe_lock, cyg_scheduler_read_lock, cyg_thread_lock_preemption, cyg_thread_unlock_preemption, cyg_thread_get_preemption_lock -- Control the state of the scheduler


#include <cyg/kernel/kapi.h>

void cyg_scheduler_start(void);

void cyg_scheduler_lock(void);

void cyg_scheduler_unlock(void);

cyg_ucount32 cyg_scheduler_read_lock(void);

void cyg_thread_lock_preemption(void);

void cyg_thread_unlock_preemption(void);

cyg_ucount32 cyg_thread_get_preemption_lock(void);


cyg_scheduler_start should only be called once, to mark the end of system initialization. In typical configurations it is called automatically by the system startup, but some applications may bypass the standard startup in which case cyg_scheduler_start will have to be called explicitly. The call will enable system interrupts, allowing I/O operations to commence. Then the scheduler will be invoked and control will be transferred to the highest priority runnable thread. The call will never return.

The various data structures inside the eCos kernel must be protected against concurrent updates. Consider a call to cyg_semaphore_post which causes a thread to be woken up: the semaphore data structure must be updated to remove the thread from its queue; the scheduler data structure must also be updated to mark the thread as runnable; it is possible that the newly runnable thread has a higher priority than the current one, in which case preemption is required. If in the middle of the semaphore post call an interrupt occurred and the interrupt handler tried to manipulate the same data structures, for example by making another thread runnable, then it is likely that the structures will be left in an inconsistent state and the system will fail.

To prevent such problems the kernel contains a special lock known as the scheduler lock. A typical kernel function such as cyg_semaphore_post will claim the scheduler lock, do all its manipulation of kernel data structures, and then release the scheduler lock. The current thread cannot be preempted while it holds the scheduler lock. If an interrupt occurs and a DSR is supposed to run to signal that some event has occurred, that DSR is postponed until the scheduler unlock operation. This prevents concurrent updates of kernel data structures.

The kernel exports three routines for manipulating the scheduler lock. cyg_scheduler_lock can be called to claim the lock. On return it is guaranteed that the current thread will not be preempted, and that no other code is manipulating any kernel data structures. cyg_scheduler_unlock can be used to release the lock, which may cause the current thread to be preempted. cyg_scheduler_read_lock can be used to query the current state of the scheduler lock. This function should never be needed because well-written code should always know whether or not the scheduler is currently locked, but may prove useful during debugging.

The implementation of the scheduler lock involves a simple counter. Code can call cyg_scheduler_lock multiple times, causing the counter to be incremented each time, as long as cyg_scheduler_unlock is called the same number of times. This behaviour is different from mutexes where an attempt by a thread to lock a mutex multiple times will result in deadlock or an assertion failure.

Typical application code should not use the scheduler lock. Instead other synchronization primitives such as mutexes and semaphores should be used. While the scheduler is locked the current thread cannot be preempted, so any higher priority threads will not be able to run. Also no DSRs can run, so device drivers may not be able to service I/O requests. However there is one situation where locking the scheduler is appropriate: if some data structure needs to be shared between an application thread and a DSR associated with some interrupt source, the thread can use the scheduler lock to prevent concurrent invocations of the DSR and then safely manipulate the structure. It is desirable that the scheduler lock is held for only a short period of time, typically some tens of instructions. In exceptional cases there may also be some performance-critical code where it is more appropriate to use the scheduler lock rather than a mutex, because the former is more efficient.

Valid contexts

cyg_scheduler_start can only be called during system initialization, since it marks the end of that phase. The remaining functions may be called from thread or DSR context. Locking the scheduler from inside the DSR has no practical effect because the lock is claimed automatically by the interrupt subsystem before running DSRs, but allows functions to be shared between normal thread code and DSRs.

Pre-emption lock

Separate but similar to the scheduler lock is the thread pre-emption lock. This provides a more light-weight method of preventing pre-emption by higher priority threads. So even if a higher priority thread becomes runnable (on this CPU, if SMP) the current thread will not be descheduled until the pre-emption lock has been released. While the pre-emption lock is held, DSRs (and ISRs) are still permitted to run.

Like the scheduler lock, the pre-emption lock is a count and so it can be called multiple times, and only when the final level is unlocked will pre-emption become possible again. A thread should only invoke the lock for itself, not on another thread, as the lock is not protected from access by multiple threads. If a thread blocks or goes to sleep, then it will be descheduled in the normal way and another thread can run. Although, once it is rescheduled, its pre-emption lock state will be preserved; so if pre-emption was disabled before, it will become disabled again when rescheduled. In an SMP system, locking pre-emption will only affect operations on the current CPU, it will not affect threads on other CPUs.

If timeslicing is enabled and the current thread has locked pre-emption, then even if the thread has run out of time in its timeslice, it will still not be descheduled. Instead, it will run until it unlocks pre-emption.

Clearly, as with the scheduler lock, the pre-emption lock can severely affect proper real-time operation and so it should be avoided if other synchronization methods, such as mutexes, semaphores etc. can be used instead. If it is used, the length of time pre-emption is disabled should be kept to a minimum.

The availability of pre-emption locking can be controlled with the CDL configuration option CYGFUN_KERNEL_THREAD_PREEMPTION_LOCK, which defaults to enabled.

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