Operating systems Investigate

To Preempt or Not to Preempt, That Is the Question

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Executive Summary

Real-Time Operating Systems (RTOSes) are traditionally designed to be fully preemptible. This improves the average interrupt response time of the system but increases kernel complexity. An alternative design is to make the kernel mostly non-preemptible and only handle pending interrupts at specific preemption points within the kernel. While this potentially worsens interrupt response times, the authors claim that for a protected-mode RTOS, as required for multi-criticality systems, non-preemptible kernels can achieve worst-case latencies comparable to those of fully-preemptible kernels.

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