The STREAMS framework consists of the stream head, documented STREAMS data structures (such as queue_t, mblk_t) and STREAMS utility routines including STREAMS facilities documented in the Device Driver Interface (DDI). The STREAMS framework enables multiple kernel threads to concurrently enter and execute code defined by each module, including the open, close, put, and service procedures of each queue within the system.
The first goal of the SunOS 5 system is to preserve the interface and flavor of STREAMS and to shield module code as much as possible from the impact of migrating to the multithreaded kernel. Most of the locking is hidden from the programmer and performed by the STREAMS kernel framework. As long as module code uses the standard, documented programmatic interfaces to shared kernel data structures (such as queue_t, mblk_t, and dblk_t), and adheres to the DDI/DKI, the user does not have to explicitly lock these framework data structures.
The second goal is to make writing MT SAFE modules simple. One of the ways that the framework accomplishes this is by using the MT STREAMS perimeter mechanisms for controlling and restricting concurrent access to a STREAMS module. STREAMS perimeters allow the module writer to select the level of concurrency that a module can tolerate.
The STREAMS framework ensures the integrity of the STREAMS data structures, such as queue_t, mblk_t, and dblk_t as long as the module conforms to the DDI/DKI, and does not directly access global operating system data structures or facilities not described in the DDI/DKI.
The q_next fields of the queue_t structure are not modified by the framework while a thread is actively executing within a synchronous entry point. However the q_next field might change while a thread is executing within an asynchronous entry point.
The q_ptr field is considered private to the module and the framework will not manipulate its value. When making a module MT Safe, the integrity of the module-private data structures must be ensured by the module itself. This integrity can be guaranteed by creating private locks, or by the control of concurrency within the module by the use of STREAMS perimeters. Knowing what the framework supports is critical in deciding what the module writer must provide.
Note - Hardening Information. As in previous Solaris operating environment releases, a module must not call another module's put or service procedures directly. The DDI/DKI routines putnext(9F), put(9F), and other routines in Section 9F must be used to pass a message to another queue. Calling another module's routines directly circumvents the design of the MT STREAMS framework and can yield unknown results.
Note - Hardening Information. Once a message is passed using a putq, put, putnext, as well as the perimeter function qwriter, it cannot be accessed again because the use of this message has been given to the new routine. If a reference needs to be retained by the module, it should copy it by using copyb, copymsg, dupb, or dupmsg.
The STREAMS framework guarantees the ordering of messages along a stream if all the modules in the stream preserve message ordering internally. This ordering guarantee only applies to messages that are sent along the same stream and produced by the same source.