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Understanding the Linux® Virtual Memory Manager by Mel Gorman

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Chapter 8. Slab Allocator

In this chapter, the general-purpose allocator is described. It is a slab allocator that is very similar in many respects to the general kernel allocator used in Solaris [MM01]. Linux’s implementation is heavily based on the first slab allocator paper by Bonwick [Bon94] with many improvements that bear a close resemblance to those described in his later paper [BA01]. I begin with a quick overview of the allocator, followed by a description of the different structures used before giving an in-depth tour of each task the allocator is responsible for.

The basic idea behind the slab allocator is to have caches of commonly used objects kept in an initialized state available for use by the kernel. Without an object-based allocator, ...

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