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What is the relationship between threads and processes?

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A thread is a subset of a process, of which numerous threads can be formed. Threads have advantages such as sharing the address space and global variables, while also having its own stack, program counter and alotted registers.

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The distinction between process and thread is fairly universal to all operating systems. A process usually represents an independent execution unit with its own memory area, system resources and scheduling slot.

A thread is typically a "division" within the process - threads usually share the same memory and operating system resources, and share the time allocated to that process. For example, when you open your Browser and Microsoft Word, each is a different process, but things that happen in the background of each (like animations, refreshes or backups) can be threads.

A job is usually a long-running unit of work executed by a user. The job may be "handled" by one or more processes. It might not be interactive. For instance, instructing the machine to zip a large file or to run some processing script on a large input file would typically be a job. The naming is relatively historic - Mainframes used to process jobs. In UNIX systems, many jobs are started automatically at prescheduled times using cron, so you have the notion of 'cron jobs'.

  • answered 3 years ago
  • Gul Hafiz

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So, a process is a single program. It has at least one thread, maybe more. Each thread takes one scheduler slot, but schedulers differ in how they allocate CPU to threads; in any case, the point of threads is to let a process do multiple things in parallel. Threads share system resources of various kinds, especially memory, files and sockets.

Jobs and tasks are unix shell concepts; a job is a process that a shell launched that is still running, either paused or running in the background. There is a long section on 'job control' in the bash manual. Job and task are roughly equivalent concepts.

  • answered 3 years ago
  • G John

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