Tickless kernel

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A tickless kernel is an operating system kernel in which timer interrupts do not occur at regular intervals, but are only delivered as required.[1]

The Linux kernel on s390 from 2.6.6[2] and on i386 from release 2.6.21[3] can be configured to turn the timer tick off (tickless or dynamic tick) for idle CPUs using CONFIG_NO_HZ, and from 3.10 with CONFIG_NO_HZ_IDLE extended for non-idle processors with CONFIG_NO_HZ_FULL.[4] The XNU kernel in OS X 10.4 on, and the NT kernel in Windows 8 kernel are also tickless.[1] The Solaris 8 kernel introduced the cyclic subsystem which allows arbitrary resolution timers and tickless operation. [5]


  1. ^ a b Bright, Peter (October 28, 2012). "Better on the inside: under the hood of Windows 8". Ars Technica. section "Tick tock". 
  2. ^ "Linux 2.6.6-rc3". Lwn.net. Retrieved 2015-04-09. 
  3. ^ "Clockevents and dyntick". Lwn.net. 2007-02-21. Retrieved 2015-04-09. 
  4. ^ "(Nearly) full tickless operation in 3.10". Lwn.net. Retrieved 2015-04-09. 
  5. ^ "Bryan Cantrill (former Solaris kernel engineer) comment". Retrieved 2017-01-07.