Multithreaded Programming Guide

Meeting Multithreading Standards

The concept of multithreaded programming goes back to at least the 1960s. Its development on UNIX systems began in the mid-1980s. While there is agreement about what multithreading is and the features necessary to support it, the interfaces used to implement multithreading have varied greatly.

For several years a group called POSIX (Portable Operating System Interface) 1003.4a has been working on standards for multithreaded programming. The standard has now been ratified. This Multithreaded Programming Guide is based on the POSIX standards: P1003.1b final draft 14 (realtime), and P1003.1c final draft 10 (multithreading).

This guide covers both POSIX threads (also called pthreads) and Solaris threads. Solaris threads were available in the Solaris 2.4 release, and are not functionally different from POSIX threads. However, because POSIX threads are more portable than Solaris threads, this guide covers multithreading from the POSIX perspective. Subjects specific to Solaris threads only are covered in the Chapter 8, Programming With Solaris Threads.