Announcing Maitake-Sync

It is with a heavy heart that I must inform you that I have written even more synchronization primitives.

For a while now, one of my primary free-time programming projects has been Maitake, an “async runtime construction kit” for bare-metal systems. Maitake is not entirely unlike Tokio — it’s a runtime for asynchronous Rust programs, with a task scheduler, timer, and so on — but intended for use on bare-metal, #![no-std] systems. The primary use-case for Maitake has been mnemOS (an operating system I’m working on with James Munns) and mycelium (my other, older hobby OS project), but the project provides broadly useful functionality that other folks may find useful as well.

Today, I’m happy to announce the first release of maitake-sync, a library of synchronization primitives written for Maitake. This crate provides general-purpose implementations of synchronization primitives, like the ones in tokio::sync or futures::lock, but again, designed primarily for use on bare-metal systems without an OS or the Rust standard library. This means that, unlike many other implementations of asynchronous synchronization primitives, most of the APIs in maitake-sync can be used without dynamic allocation.

Among other things, maitake-sync includes:

All of these synchronization primtives are implemented using intrusive linked lists, so they require no dynamic allocation for each task that waits on a synchronization primitive. Instead, the linked list node is inlined into the task’s own allocation (which may or may not be dynamically allocated). This allows these APIs to be used in environments where dynamic allocations must be avoided. The intrusive linked list implementation comes from another of my hobby libraries, called cordyceps. Additionally, some of the code in maitake-sync uses the bitfield library I wrote one weekend because I was bored, mycelium-bitfield. So, it’s kind of like “Eliza’s greatest hits”.

The synchronization primitives in maitake-sync are tested using loom, a model checker for concurrent Rust programs. loom allows writing tests for concurrent data structures which exhaustively simulate all the potential interleavings of operations permitted by the C++11 memory model. loom was written by Carl Lerche as part of his work on the Tokio runtime, and it’s proved invaluable. I love writing lock-free data structures, but I don’t really trust myself, or anyone else, to write them correctly…without help from the model checker. maitake-sync’s synchronization primitives will also participate in downstream code’s loom models when built with --cfg loom.

Most of this code has existed for some time, as it was previously part of the main maitake crate. However, that crate has not yet been published to James recently asked me if it was possible to publish the synchronization primitives to, so that they can be used without requiring a Git dependency on all of maitake. So, today I pulled this code out of the main maitake crate and published it, so that they can be used without depending on the rest of the runtime.

So, if you’re writing an embedded system or an OS in Rust, and you need a library of asynchronous synchronization primitives, you may find something from maitake-sync useful. Enjoy!