is the essential centre of a computer operating system, the core that
provides basic services for all other parts of the operating system.
The Linux kernel is a Unix-like operating system kernel, started in
1991 by Linus Torvalds as a Minix-like operating system.
Linux is a monolithic kernel; it is one, single, large program
where all the functional components of the kernel have access to all
of its internal data structures and routines. Linux allows
you to dynamically load
and unload components of the operating system as you need them.
Linux modules are chunks of code that can be dynamically linked into
kernel at any point after the system has booted.
They can be unlinked from the kernel and removed when they are no
Mostly Linux kernel modules are device drivers, pseudo-device drivers
such as network drivers, or file-systems.
Linux is written in the version of the C programming language
supported by GCC
(which has introduced a number of extensions and changes to standard
C), together with a number of short sections of code written in
assembly language of the target architecture.
Linux is now one of the most widely ported operating system kernels,
running on a diverse range of systems from the Zaurus (a handheld
computer), Asus Eee subnotebook PC to the IBM System z9 (a massive
mainframe server that can run hundreds or even thousands of concurrent
- True preemptive multitasking (both in user mode and kernel
- Virtual memory
- Shared libraries
- Demand loading
- Shared copy-on-write
- Memory management
- The Internet protocol suite
- Subarchitecture support
- Support for NUMA (Non-Uniform Memory Access) servers
- Supprt for embedded processors including Hitachi's H8/300
series, the NEC v850 processor,
and Motorola's range of
embedded m68k processors.
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Last Updated Monday, March 10 2008 @ 03:35 PM EST