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multitasking
Last modified: Friday, September 19, 2003 

The ability to execute more than one task at the same time, a task being a program. The terms multitasking and multiprocessing are often used interchangeably, although multiprocessing implies that more than one CPU is involved.

In multitasking, only one CPU is involved, but it switches from one program to another so quickly that it gives the appearance of executing all of the programs at the same time.

There are two basic types of multitasking: preemptive and cooperative. In preemptive multitasking, the operating system parcels out CPU time slices to each program. In cooperative multitasking, each program can control the CPU for as long as it needs it. If a program is not using the CPU, however, it can allow another program to use it temporarily. OS/2, Windows 95, Windows NT, the Amiga operating system and UNIX use preemptive multitasking, whereas Microsoft Windows 3.x and the MultiFinder (for Macintosh computers) use cooperative multitasking.

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For internet.com pages about multitasking . Also check out the following links!

Related Links

CMX-RTX real time operating system
Product feature page for the CMS-RTX real time multitasking operating system for microprocessors and microcomputers.

MOVIE site
This site describes the MOVIE (Multitasking Object-oriented Visual Interactive Environment ) project from Syracuse University. The goal of the MOVIE project is to provide a programming environment on top of evolving open software and HPCC language standards.

On Time home page
The On Time site provides information on their real-time multitasking kernel for C and PASCAL, and the cross development system for 32-bit embedded systems.

related categories

Operating Systems

Procedures, Functions and Routines

related terms

.NET

background

cooperative multitasking

MultiFinder

multiprocessing

operating system

OS/2

UNIX


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