Bordeaux-Threads is a minimal library that aims to provide the basic concepts required for multi-threading programming, such as threads, mutexes, semaphores and condition variables. Higher-level data structures such as queues, mailboxes, thread pools, execution graphs, etc… tend to be more specialized and are better left to other libraries.
This document describes the second version of the API (APIv2), which differs from the first version in a few key points and aims to provide a more uniformous interface across all Common Lisp implementations.
When Bordeaux-Threads was created, most Common Lisp implementations were either single-threaded or provided user-space scheduling akin to green threads, and therefore Bordeaux-Threads tried to support all such implementations as well as possible.
Bordeaux-Threads APIV2 no longer supports single-threaded implementations and was conceived to work best with hosts that provide SMP threads.
In most cases Bordeaux-Threads simply wraps the primitives provided by the host implementation. Whenever the primitives are absent from the host, we try to provide an ersatz implementation that is optimized for correctness and readability rather than performance.
The two absolutely necessary primitives are threads and locks. Semaphores and condition variables can be implemented in terms of one another, and that’s the case on a few implementations. Atomic operations vary greatly in what kind of forms they operate on so we do not expose them, instead providing slightly higher-level constructs.