Resource Leaks in Software

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9 Resource Leaks
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In 9, we discussed a number of different tools and strategies for tracking down resource leaks Two types of resource leaks were discussed: handles and memory Handles, as seen from a debugging perspective, behave the same in Windows Vista (that is, the !htrace extension command is fully functional), whereas heap memory has dramatically changed to improve performance and security Even though the heap manager has changed, some of the leak-detection tools can still be used to track down memory leaks The two primary tools discussed in 9 are LeakDiag and UMDH Unfortunately, at the time of this writing, LeakDiag does not work on Windows Vista, although UMDH can be used as an alternative
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10 Synchronization
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10 Synchronization
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In 10, Synchronization, we discussed the most commonly used thread synchronization primitives available in Windows Critical sections, events, mutants, and so on have all been part of the Windows operating system for quite some time With the advent of Windows Vista, the synchronization capabilities have been extended to include a range of new features Specifically, the following new synchronization primitives have been introduced:
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Slim reader/writer lock Condition variables One-time initialization Improved thread pool
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In this part of the chapter, we take a brief look at the new synchronization features available in Windows Vista
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Slim Reader/Writer Lock
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A reader/writer lock is a synchronization construct commonly used when addressing concurrent access to a shared resource in which multiple concurrent readers are allowed, but writers acquire exclusive ownership of the resource Although read/write access to a shared resource can be easily solved by using one of the existing synchronization primitives (such as a critical section or a mutex), the benefit of a reader/writer lock is when there is a fairly large number of readers and relatively few writers In this scenario, using a critical section can be suboptimal because a critical section only allows exclusive access to a shared resource, regardless of whether all the threads trying to get access to the resource are reader threads The means by which the new reader/writer lock distinguishes between reader and writer lock access is by introducing two lock modes:
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15 WINDOWS VISTA FUNDAMENTALS
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Exclusive: Grants exclusive access to the shared resource No other thread can access the resource while a thread has exclusive access to a lock Writer threads typically request exclusive access Shared: Grants shared access to the resource, enabling multiple concurrent threads to read the data protected by the lock Reader threads typically request shared access
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15
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As with any synchronization construct, fairness is an important aspect It is important to note that the new reader/writer lock in Windows Vista does not observe fairness Table 153 lists the new reader/write locks in Windows Vista Table 153
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API InitializeSRWLock Description
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AcquireSRWLockExclusive
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AcquireSRWLockShared
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ReleaseSRWLockExclusive ReleaseSRWLockShared
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Initializes the simple reader/writer lock The data structure used to represent a reader writer lock is of type SRWLOCK Acquires a reader/writer lock in exclusive mode, indicating that no other threads are allowed to access the lock An example of this would be for a writer to acquire exclusive access to the lock Acquires a reader/writer lock in shared mode, indicating that other threads are allowed to access the lock An example of this would be for a reader to acquire shared access to the lock Releases a reader/writer lock previously acquired in exclusive mode Releases a reader/writer lock previously acquired in shared mode
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Debugging reader/writer locks can prove to be a challenging task mainly because of the limited amount of bookkeeping associated with the lock The definition of the SRWLOCK is shown in the following:
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typedef struct _RTL_SRWLOCK { PVOID Ptr; }
As you can see, the contents of the lock are minimal and contain only a pointer to a VOID type Contrast this definition with that of the critical section, which contains a whole slew of information, such as owning thread, lock count, recursion count, and so on Even though limited information is available with a reader/writer lock, the debugging process is similar to that of other synchronization constructs