/ os


  1. mutex
  2. semaphore

Difference between binary semaphore and mutex

The mutex is similar to the principles of the binary semaphore with one significant difference: the principle of ownership. Ownership is the simple concept that when a task locks (acquires) a mutex only it can unlock (release) it. If a task tries to unlock a mutex it hasn’t locked (thus doesn’t own) then an error condition is encountered and, most importantly, the mutex is not unlocked. If the mutual exclusion object doesn't have ownership then, irrelevant of what it is called, it is not a mutex.

- (void)myMethod:(id)anObj
        // Everything between the braces is protected by the @synchronized directive.

The object passed to the @synchronized directive is a unique identifier used to distinguish the protected block. If you execute the preceding method in two different threads, passing a different object for the anObj parameter on each thread, each would take its lock and continue processing without being blocked by the other. If you pass the same object in both cases, however, one of the threads would acquire the lock first and the other would block until the first thread completed the critical section.

As a precautionary measure, the @synchronized block implicitly adds an exception handler to the protected code. This handler automatically releases the mutex in the event that an exception is thrown. This means that in order to use the @synchronized directive, you must also enable Objective-C exception handling in your code. If you do not want the additional overhead caused by the implicit exception handler, you should consider using the lock classes.

For more information about the @synchronized directive, see The Objective-C Programming Language.