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Managed modules

p11-kit wraps PKCS#11 modules to manage them and customize their functionality so that they are able to be shared between multiple callers in the same process.

Each caller that uses the p11_kit_modules_load() or p11_kit_module_load() function gets independent wrapped PKCS#11 module(s). This is unless a caller or module configuration specifies that a module should be used in an unmanaged fashion.

When modules are managed, the following aspects are wrapped and coordinated:

  • Calls to C_Initialize and C_Finalize can be called by multiple callers.

    The first time that the managed module C_Initialize is called, the PKCS#11 module's actual C_Initialize function is called. Subsequent calls by other callers will cause p11-kit to increment an internal initialization count, rather than calling C_Initialize again.

    Multiple callers can call the managed C_Initialize function concurrently from different threads and p11-kit will guarantee that this managed in a thread-safe manner.

  • When the managed module C_Finalize is used to finalize a module, each time it is called it decrements the internal initialization count for that module. When the internal initialization count reaches zero, the module's actual C_Finalize function is called.

    Multiple callers can call the managed C_Finalize function concurrently from different threads and p11-kit will guarantee that this managed in a thread-safe manner.

  • Call to C_CloseAllSessions only close the sessions that the caller of the managed module has opened. This allows the C_CloseAllSessions function to be used without closing sessions for other callers of the same PKCS#11 module.

  • Managed modules have ability to log PKCS#11 method calls for debugging purposes. See the log-calls = yes module configuration option.

  • Managed modules have the ability to be remoted to another machine or isolated in their own process. See the remote = ... module configuration option.

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