athos athos - 2 months ago 11
C++ Question

How do DLLs handle concurrency from multiple processes?

I understand from Eric Lippert's answer that "two processes can share non-private memory pages. If twenty processes all load the same DLL, the processes all share the memory pages for that code. They don't share virtual memory address space, they share memory."

Now, if the same DLL file on the harddisk, after loaded into appliations, would share the same physical memory (be it RAM or page files), but mapped to different virtual memory address spaces, wouldn't that make it quite difficult to handle concurrency?

As I understand, concurrency concept in C++ is more about handling threading -- A process can start multiple threads, each can be run on an individual core, so when different threads calls the DLL at the same time, there might be data racing and we need mutex, lock, signal, conditional variable and so on.

But how would a DLL handles multi-processes? The same concept of data racing will happen, isn't it? What are the tools to handle that? Still the same toolset?

Answer

DLL's contain multiple "segments", and each segment has a descriptor telling Windows its Characteristics. This is a 32 bits DWORD. Code segments obviously have the code bit set, and generally also the shareable bit. Read-only data can also be shareable, whereas writeable data generally does not have the shareable flag.

Now you can set an unusual combination of characteristics on an extra segment: writeable and shareable. That is not the default, and indeed might cause race conditions. So the final answer to your question is: the problem is avoided chiefly by the default characteristics of segments, and secondly any DLL which has a segment with non-standard characteristics must deal with the self-inflicted problems.

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