SPL(9)                       NetBSD Kernel Manual                       SPL(9)

NAME
     spl, spl0, splbio, splclock, splhigh, splvm, spllock, spllowersoftclock,
     splnet, splsched, splserial, splsoftclock, splsoftnet, splsoftserial,
     splstatclock, spltty, splvm, splx - modify system interrupt priority lev-
     el

SYNOPSIS
     #include <machine/intr.h>

     int
     splhigh(void);

     int
     spllock(void);

     int
     splserial(void);

     int
     splsched(void);

     int
     splclock(void);

     int
     splstatclock(void);

     int
     splvm(void);

     int
     spltty(void);

     int
     splsoftserial(void);

     int
     splnet(void);

     int
     splbio(void);

     int
     splsoftnet(void);

     int
     splsoftclock(void);

     void
     spllowersoftclock(void);

     void
     spl0(void);

     void
     splx(int s);

DESCRIPTION
     These functions raise and lower the system priority level.  They are used
     by kernel code to block interrupts in critical sections, in order to pro-
     tect data structures (much like a locking primitive) or to ensure unin-
     terrupted access to hardware devices which are sensitive to timing.

     Interrupt priorities are not arranged in a strict hierarchy, although in-
     terrupt hardware sometimes is.  For this reason the priorities listed
     here are arranged from ``highest'' to ``lowest''.  In other words, if a
     platform's hardware interrupts are arranged in a hierarchical manner, a
     priority level should also block all of the levels listed below it.

     Note that a strict hierarchy is not required.  For example, splnet() is
     not required to block disk controller interrupts, as they do not access
     the same data structures.  However, the priorities are presented as a hi-
     erarchy in order to minimize data loss due to blocked interrupts, or in-
     terrupts not being serviced in a timely fashion.

     A spl function exists for each distinct priority level which can exist in
     the system, as well as for some special priority levels that are designed
     to be used in conjunction with multiprocessor-safe locking primitives.
     These levels may be divided into two main types: hard and soft.  Hard in-
     terrupts are generated by hardware devices.  Soft interrupts are a way of
     deferring hardware interrupts to do more expensive processing at a lower
     interrupt priority, and are explicitly scheduled by the higher-level in-
     terrupt handler.  The most common use of this is in the networking code,
     where network interface drivers defer the more expensive TCP/IP process-
     ing in order to avoid dropping additional incoming packets.  Software in-
     terrupts are further described by softintr(9).

     In order of highest to lowest priority, the priority-raising functions
     are:

     splhigh()        blocks all hard and soft interrupts.  It is used for
                      code that cannot tolerate any interrupts, like hardware
                      context switching code and the ddb(4) in-kernel debug-
                      ger.

     spllock()        blocks all hard and soft interrupts that can acquire a
                      simple lock.  This is provided as a distinct level from
                      splhigh() as some platforms may need to make use of ex-
                      tremely high priority interrupts while locks are spin-
                      ning, which would be blocked by splhigh().

     splserial()      blocks hard interrupts from serial interfaces (IPL_SERI-
                      AL).  Code running at this level may not access the tty
                      subsystem.  Generally, all code run at this level must
                      schedule additional processing to run in a software in-
                      terrupt.  Note that code running at this priority is not
                      blocked by splvm() (described below), and is therefore
                      prohibited from using the kernel memory allocators.

     splsched()       blocks all hard and soft interrupts that may access
                      scheduler data structures.  Code running at or above
                      this level may not call sleep(), tsleep(), ltsleep(), or
                      wakeup(), nor may it post signals.

     splclock()       blocks the hardware clock interrupt.  It is used by
                      hardclock() to update kernel and process times, and must
                      be used by any other code that accesses time-related da-
                      ta, specifically the time and mono_time global vari-
                      ables.  This level also protects the callout(9) data
                      structures, and nothing running at or above this level
                      may schedule, cancel, or otherwise access any callout-
                      related data structures.

     splstatclock()   blocks the hardware statistics clock interrupt.  It is
                      used by statclock() to update kernel profiling and other
                      statistics, and must be used by any code that accesses
                      that data.  This is the clock that drives scheduling.
                      This level is identical to splclock() if there is no
                      separate statistics clock.

     splvm()          blocks hard interrupts from all devices that are allowed
                      to use the kernel malloc(9), or any virtual memory oper-
                      ations.  That includes all disk, network, and tty device
                      interrupts.  The temptation to abuse the semantics of
                      splvm() should be avoided; if you feel as if you need to
                      block more than one class of interrupts at a time, use
                      software interrupts instead.

     spltty()         blocks hard and soft interrupts from TTY devices
                      (IPL_TTY).  This must also block soft serial interrupts.

     splsoftserial()  blocks soft interrupts generated by serial devices
                      (IPL_SOFTSERIAL).

     splnet()         blocks hard interrupts from network interfaces
                      (IPL_NET).

     splbio()         blocks hard interrupts from disks and other mass-storage
                      devices (IPL_BIO).

     splsoftnet()     blocks soft network interrupts (IPL_SOFTNET).  Soft in-
                      terrupts blocked by this priority are also blocked by
                      all of the priorities listed above.

     splsoftclock()   blocks soft clock interrupts.  This is the priority at
                      which the callout(9) facility runs.  Soft interrupts
                      blocked by this priority are also blocked by all of the
                      priorities listed above.  In particular, splsoftnet()
                      must be a higher priority than splsoftclock().

     Two functions lower the system priority level.  They are:

     spllowersoftclock()  unblocks all interrupts but the soft clock inter-
                          rupt.

     spl0()               unblocks all interrupts.

     The splx() function restores the system priority level to the one encoded
     in s, which must be a value previously returned by one of the other spl
     functions.

     Note that the functions which lower the system priority level
     (spllowersoftclock(), spl0(), and splx()) do not return a value.  They
     should only be used in places where the system priority level is being
     decreased permanently.  It is inappropriate to attempt to use them where
     the system priority level is being decreased temporarily, and would need
     to be restored to a previous value before continuing.

HISTORY
     Originally, splsoftclock() lowered the system priority level.  During the
     NetBSD 1.5 development cycle, spllowersoftclock() was introduced and the
     semantics of splsoftclock() were changed.

     The splimp() call was removed from the kernel between NetBSD 1.5 and
     NetBSD 1.6.  The function of splimp() was replaced by splvm() and code
     which abused the semantics of splimp() was changed to not mix interrupt
     priority levels.

NetBSD 1.6                      April 13, 2001                               3

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