Software that should exist #5: Suspendable Processes

So far, most OSes support Suspend to Disk. That is, I can take a snapshot of the current state of my computer and restore it later. Thats a good thing, when having opened a lot of programs, which would have to be started again otherwise.

Some Software allows the suspension of itself, too. SBCL and many other Common Lisp Implementations have Coredumps which can be reloaded (in fact, under SBCL, this is the default way of creating an executable). But it would be nice to have this feature inside the OS itself, working for (mostly) all processes.

That is, I would like to be able to suspend a process and all its subprocesses while keeping anything else running, but also being able to shutdown my computer meanwhile.

This – of course – produces several problems. An application could have mmapped or opened some files. So, if the program has opened a file exclusively, i.e. doesnt expect the file to change, then the OS would have to notice that and keep the file locked, even through shutdowns. Of course, this shouldnt really become a problem, and if something fails – well, there can always be IO-Errors anyway.

Same for sockets and other IPC-Stuff. But on the other hand, when changing something on a whole suspended disk-image, then the problem is equal – except that then you can make your whole kernel crash.

That is – of course, the user isnt allowed to break the security mechanisms of the OS – and if he does, then its his fault.

Of course, you can already do something similar – namely use usermode linux or some light virtualization. But having this for all processes would be better and easier.

Update: I seem not to be the only person thinking this. There is a project called CryoPID. Thank you for your comment, Leslie.


2 Responses to Software that should exist #5: Suspendable Processes

  1. Leslie sagt:

    For Linux there is CryoPID, which is not perfect but apparently does the job in some cases.

  2. dasuxullebt sagt:

    Thank you. Reading ther website – yeah, seems like their goals is exactly what I wrote about. Nice!

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