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Chapter 1 - Why Threads

Pthreads Programming
Bradford Nichols, Dick Buttlar and Jacqueline Proulx Farrell
 Copyright © 1996 O'Reilly & Associates, Inc.

A Structured Programming Environment
Revisiting the techniques used to obtain concurrency that we discussed earlier—potential parallelism, overlapping I/O, asynchronous events, and real-time scheduling—we find that UNIX offers many disjointed mechanisms to accomplish them between processes. They include the select system call, signals, nonblocking I/O, and the setjmp/longjmp system call pair, plus many calls for real time (such as aio_read and aio_write) and parallel processing. Pthreads offers a clean, consistent way to address all of these motivations. If you're a disciplined programmer, designing and coding a multithreaded program should be easier than designing and coding a multiprocess program.
Now, we know that the example program we've been looking at in this chapter is far too simple to convince anyone that a particular programming style is more structured or elegant than another. Subsequent examples will venture into more complex territory and, in doing so, illustrate Pthreads mechanisms for a more practical set of coding problems. We hope that they may make the case for Pthreads.

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