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[[!meta copyright="Copyright © 2007, 2008 Free Software Foundation, Inc."]]

[[!meta license="""[[!toggle id="license" text="GFDL 1.2+"]][[!toggleable id="license" text="Permission is granted to copy, distribute and/or modify this document under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License, Version 1.2 or any later version published by the Free Software Foundation; with no Invariant Sections, no Front-Cover Texts, and no Back-Cover Texts. A copy of the license is included in the section entitled [[GNU Free Documentation License|/fdl]]."]]"""]]

The Collaborative International Dictionary of English v.0.48 defines a mechanism as:

The series of causal relations that operate to produce an effect in any system; as, the mechanism of a chemical reaction.

This is, a mechanism is a function that produces some result. As mechanisms determine the type of result, they necessarily impose some [policy]. Mechanisms that are referred to as policy-free are those that minimally impose policy.

A process can be used to encapsulate a program instance. On [[Unix]], a process is associated with a UID. This UID, in part, determines what the process is authorized to do. On a [[microkernel]], the policy that controls what resources a process may access are realized separately. This may achieved through the use of UIDs, however need not. Thus, the processes mechanism on such microkernels impose less policy than on Unix. A process is not policy free as it is possible to use other mechanisms to encapsulate a program instance, e.g., [[SFI]] and tainting ala [[Asbestos]].

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