The differences between mutexes and semaphores are that semaphores are operating system dependent, though mutexes are implemented by specialized and faster routines. Mutexes are meant to be used for mutual exclusion (post/release operation is restricted to thread that called pend/acquire) only and binary semaphores are meant to be used for event notification (post-ability from any thread) and mutual exclusion.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Semaphore_(programming)






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