Chapter 17. Page Frame Reclaiming

In previous chapters, we explained how the kernel handles dynamic memory by keeping track of free and busy page frames. We have also discussed how every process in User Mode has its own address space and has its requests for memory satisfied by the kernel one page at a time, so that page frames can be assigned to the process at the very last possible moment. Last but not least, we have shown how the kernel makes use of dynamic memory to implement both memory and disk caches .

In this chapter, we complete our description of the virtual memory subsystem by discussing page frame reclaiming. We’ll start in the first section, "The Page Frame Reclaiming Algorithm,” explaining why the kernel needs to reclaim page frames and what strategy it uses to achieve this. We then make a technical digression in the section "Reverse Mapping" to discuss the data structures used by the kernel to locate quickly all the Page Table entries that point to the same page frame. The section "Implementing the PFRA" is devoted to the page frame reclaiming algorithm used by Linux. The last main section, "Swapping,” is almost a chapter by itself: it covers the swap subsystem, a kernel component used to save anonymous (not mapping data of files) pages on disk.

Get Understanding the Linux Kernel, 3rd Edition now with the O’Reilly learning platform.

O’Reilly members experience live online training, plus books, videos, and digital content from nearly 200 publishers.