Understanding the Kernel

The kernel is the innermost layer of the Linux operating system, a thin layer of software between applications and the hardware, and that thing which is most rightly called "Linux." When your computer starts, the BIOS starts the boot loader, the boot loader hands control to the kernel, and the kernel does the rest. It initializes core systems; probes, identifies, and enables your hardware; and initiates the boot scripts. After the boot, the kernel is your gateway to the local machine, managing all resources and tasks, and supplying modules and applications with a uniform interface to services such as task switching, signaling, device I/O, and memory management.

When we say a program "runs on Linux," we mean that it communicates ...

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