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What is Linux? - Part 1: Kernel


Welcome, my fine tech enthusiasts, to our first episode of the epic saga: What is Linux? No, it's not a cute penguin, though Tux (our beloved Linux mascot) sure is adorable! Today, we're diving deep into the enigmatic heart of Linux, the powerhouse of your system, the one, the only...drumroll please...The Kernel!

So, what's a kernel when it's at home? No, it's not the popcorn piece that refused to pop, though I can see how you'd make that mistake. In the computing world, the kernel is the central part of an operating system, managing input and output requests from software, and translating them into instructions for the CPU. It's like the puppet master, pulling the strings behind the scenes.

The Linux kernel, created by Linus Torvalds, is like the Swiss Army knife of kernels. It's a monolithic kernel with modular capabilities, meaning it's one large program where all functional parts have access to all of its internal data structures, but its functionalities can also be loaded and unloaded dynamically. Cool, huh?

Let's go on a little expedition and find some kernels, shall we? Don your explorer's hat, pick up your command line machete, and let's journey into the wild jungles of Linux!

To see which kernel version your Linux system is running, we'll use the uname command:

uname -r

It might spit out something that looks like:


This tells us that we're running version 5.11.0-16 of the Linux kernel. Congrats, you've found your kernel!

But wait, there's more! Linux Kernel, like a good layered bean dip, consists of several layers:

  • Hardware Layer: This is the raw hardware of the system, all your CPUs, memory and your beloved RGB gaming keyboard.

  • Kernel Space: This is where the kernel (i.e., the puppet master) resides and does its magic.

  • User Space: This is where your user applications live. It's like a playground, but with more text editors and fewer slides.

The kernel is the go-between for your hardware and software. It translates your high-level "Pretty please, can I have this webpage?" into low-level "Get me these bits from this memory location, pronto!"

It's a peacekeeper, a mediator, a negotiator of resources, and the core of your Linux operating system. And it does all of this while you're blissfully streaming cat videos, without breaking a sweat.

So there you have it, folks! Your Linux kernel in a nutshell, or should I a popcorn shell? Remember to join us next time as we continue our journey through the captivating world of Linux with our episode on Shell! Can you shell-eve it? Until then, happy kernel hunting!