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System Calls

A system call is a controlled entry point into the kernel, allowing a process to request that the kernel perform some action on the process’s behalf. The kernel makes a range of services accessible to programs via the system call application programming interface (API). These services include, for example, creating a new process, performing I/O, and creating a pipe for interprocess communication. (The syscalls(2) manual page lists the Linux system calls.)

Before going into the details of how a system call works, we note some general points:

  • A system call changes the processor state from user mode to kernel mode, so that the CPU can access protected kernel memory.


  

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