Zircon is an object-based kernel. User mode code almost exclusively interacts with OS resources via object handles. A handle can be thought of as an active session with a specific OS subsystem scoped to a particular resource.
Zircon actively manages the following resources:
- processor time
- memory and address spaces
- device-io memory
- signaling and waiting
Kernel objects for applications
Memory and address space
Kernel objects for drivers
Kernel Object and LK
Some kernel objects wrap one or more LK-level constructs. For example the
Thread object wraps one
thread_t. However the Channel does not wrap
any LK-level objects.
Kernel object lifetime
Kernel objects are ref-counted. Most kernel objects are born during a syscall
and are held alive at refcount = 1 by the handle which binds the handle value
given as the output of the syscall. The handle object is held alive as long it
is attached to a handle table. Handles are detached from the handle table
closing them (for example via
sys_close()) which decrements the refcount of
the kernel object. Usually, when the last handle is closed the kernel object
refcount will reach 0 which causes the destructor to be run.
The refcount increases both when new handles (referring to the object) are created and when a direct pointer reference (by some kernel code) is acquired; therefore a kernel object lifetime might be longer than the lifetime of the process that created it.
A kernel object is implemented as a C++ class that derives from
and that overrides the methods it implements. Thus, for example, the code
of the Thread object is found in
ThreadDispatcher. There is plenty of
code that only cares about kernel objects in the generic sense, in that case
the name you'll see is
Kernel Object security
In principle, kernel objects do not have an intrinsic notion of security and do not do authorization checks; security rights are held by each handle. A single process can have two different handles to the same object with different rights.