High Quality Content by WIKIPEDIA articles! A futex (short for
"fast userspace mutex") is a Linux construct that can be used to
implement basic locking, or as a building block for higher-level
locking abstractions such as semaphores and POSIX mutexes or
condition variables. A futex consists of a kernelspace wait queue
that is attached to a userspace aligned integer. Multiple processes
or threads operate on the integer entirely in user space (using
atomic operations to avoid interfering with one another), and only
resort to relatively expensive system calls to request operations
on the wait queue (for example to wake up waiting processes, or to
put the current process on the wait queue). A properly programmed
futex-based lock will not use system calls except when the lock is
contended; since most operations do not require arbitration between
processes, this will not happen in most cases.
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