“Crises and deadlocks when they occur have at least this advantage, that they force us to think.”- Jawaharlal Nehru (1889 - 1964) Indian political leader

A set of process is in a deadlock state if each process in the set is waiting for an event that can be caused by only another process in the set. In other words, each member of the set of deadlock processes is waiting for a resource that can be released only by a deadlock process. None of the processes can run, none of them can release any resources, and none of them can be awakened. It is important to note that the number of processes and the number and kind of resources possessed and requested are unimportant.

The resources may be either physical or logical. Examples of physical resources are Printers, Tape Drivers, Memory Space, and CPU Cycles. Examples of logical resources are Files, Semaphores, and Monitors.

The simplest example of deadlock is where process 1 has been allocated non-shareable resources A, say, a tap drive, and process 2 has be allocated non-sharable resource B, say, a printer. Now, if it turns out that process 1 needs resource B (printer) to proceed and process 2 needs resource A (the tape drive) to proceed and these are the only two processes in the system, each is blocked the other and all useful work in the system stops. This situation ifs termed deadlock. The system is in deadlock state because each process holds a resource being requested by the other process neither process is willing to release the resource it holds.



Preemptable and Nonpreemptable Resources

Resources come in two flavors: preemptable and nonpreemptable. A preemptable resource is one that can be taken away from the process with no ill effects. Memory is an example of a preemptable resource. On the other hand, a nonpreemptable resource is one that cannot be taken away from process (without causing ill effect). For example, CD resources are not preemptable at an arbitrary moment.
Reallocating resources can resolve deadlocks that involve preemptable resources. Deadlocks that involve nonpreemptable resources are difficult to deal with.