managed ^ unmanaged (dotnet)- what to Manage?

A popular IV question — exactly what runtime Services are provided by the dotnet Hosting runtime/VM to the Hosted/managed code? In other words, how is the “managed code” managed?

Re, I believe an executing thread often has it’s lowest level stack frames in kernel mode, middle frames in the VM, and top frames running end-user application code. The managed code is like a lawyer working out of a hotel room. The hotel provides her many business services. Now, host environments have always provided essential runtime services to hosted applications, since the very early days of computers. The ubiquitous runtime host environment is the OS. In fact, the standard name of an OS instance is a “hostname”. If you have 3 operating systems running on the same box sharing the CPU/RAM/disk/network then there are 3 hosts — i.e. 3 distinct Hosting-Environments. In the same tradition, the dotnet/java VM also provides some runtime services to hosted applications. Hotel needs “metadata” about the data types, so a dotnet assembly always include type metadata in additional to IL code.

Below is a dotnet-centric answer to the IV question. (JVM? probably similar.) For each, we could drill down if needed (usually unneeded in enterprise apps).

– (uncaught) exception handling. See [[Illustrated c#]] (but how different from unmanaged c++?)
– class loading. See [[Illustrated c#]]
– security
– thread management? But I believe unmanaged code can also get userland threads manufactured by the  (unmanaged) thread library.
– reflection.See [[Illustrated c#]]
– instrumentation? Remember jconsole
– easier debugging – no PhD required. Unmanaged code offers “limited” debugging??
– cross-language integration?
– memory management?
** garbage collection. This service is so prominent/important it’s often listed on its own, but I consider this part of mem  mgmt.
** memory request/allocation? A ansi-C app uses memory management library to grab memory wholesale from kernel (see other posts) and a VM probably takes over that task.
** translate a C# heapy object reference to a “real virtual” heap address. Both JVM and .Net collectors have to move (non-pinned[1]) objects from one real-virtual address to another real-virthal address. Note the OS (the so-called Paging supervisor) translates this real-virtual address into physical RAM address.** appDomain. VM isolates each appdomain from other appdomains within a single Process and prevents memory cross-access. See

[1] pinned objects are not relocatable.


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