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  1. What Is
June 22, 2016updated 09 Jan 2017 4:38pm

What is a kernel?

Core to your computer, but do you know what it does?

By James Nunns

Forming the central core of a computer’s operating system, a kernel is a computer program that has complete control over everything that occurs in a system.

This makes it an extremely important piece of technology to get right.

Due to it having complete control over everything that occurs, it is the first program loaded on start-up, so that it can control the rest of the process.

The kernel acts as a bridge between applications and the data processing that is performed at the hardware level by using communication and system calls.

There are five types of kernel, find out what they are on the next page.

Responsibilities of the kernel include low-level tasks such as disk management, task management, and memory management.

Five types of kernels exist, a monolithic kernel, microkernel, hybrid kernel, nano kernel, and exo kernel.

An exo kernel allocates physical hardware resources such as processor time and disk block to other programs. Nano kernels simplify the memory requirement by delegating services, while a hybrid kernel runs a few services in the kernel space to reduce the performance overhead of traditional microkernels.

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A microkernel defines a simple abstraction over hardware that uses primitives or system calls to implement minimum OS services.


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