GoLang system internals
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Go (as of 1.6) system internals


  • g and m internal structures access
  • goroutines native parking / unparking
  • internal locks

Scheduling details

I am not going to cover go scheduler in details here.

The scheduler's job is to distribute ready-to-run goroutines over worker threads. Main concepts:

  • G - goroutine.
  • M - worker thread, or machine.
  • P - processor, a resource that is required to execute Go code. M must have an associated P to execute Go code, however it can be blocked or in a syscall w/o an associated P.

Runtime defined as a tuple of (m0, g0). Almost everything interested is happening in the context of g0 (like scheduling, gc setup, etc). Usually switch from an arbitrary goroutine to the g0 can happen in the case of: resceduling, goroutine parking, exiting / finishing, syscalling, recovery from panic and maybe other cases I did not managed to find with grep. In order to do a switch runtime calls mcall function.

mcall switches from the g to the g0 stack and invokes fn(g), where g is the goroutine that made the call. mcall can only be called from g stacks (not g0, not gsignal).


A goroutine can be took off the scheduling for a while to keep resources free until some condition met. It called parking. Often and almost always go runtime uses this method to implement various synchronisation primitives behavior and implementation.

  • gopark puts the current goroutine into a waiting state and calls unlockf. If unlockf returns false, the goroutine is resumed. Implementation execute scheduling of the next goroutine forgetting about existence of current one, until it will be brought back by goready. Thus, schedule do not waste resources for goroutines waiting some external event to continue its execution. This used exactly instead of spinning cpu;
  • goparkunlock puts the current goroutine into a waiting state and unlocks the lock by calling parkunlock_c over internal mutex object. If unlockf returns false, the goroutine is resumed. Implemented via;
  • goready / ready mark gp ready to run. Naturally unpark. Places a goroutine into the next run slot (via runqput) or to the local run queue (size 256) if its contended. If the local run queue is full, runnext puts g on the global queue.

Parking used in implementations of io, gc, timers, finalizers, channels, panics, tracer, semaphore and select.

It effectively used for implementations of sync primitives when the moment of acquisition or releasing the lock is known in advance (instead of blind spinning) (by some external event i.e.).

If there was no contention on next run slot on the p, goready can effectively bring goroutine back to life omitting long passing through the run queues what intended to minimize latency.


Demonstration of goroutine parking with mutex unlocking.

var gp unsafe.Pointer

l := &Mutex{}
go func() {
    atomic.StorePointer(&gp, GetG())
    GoParkUnlock(l, "go (block)", TraceEvGoBlock, 1)


pprof.Lookup("goroutine").WriteTo(os.Stdout, 1)

GoReady((*G)(gp), 1)