What is Kernel

What is Kernel

Do you know What is Kernel? If not then by the end of today’s article (What is Kernel) you will get to know about all the things related to Kernel. Stay with us for full details.

This kernel is a very important centre of a computer operating system (OS). It is a core that provides all the basic services to the different parts of the OS. This is the main layer between the OS and the hardware, which helps process and memory management, file systems, device control and also in networking.

A kernel is most of the time compared with a shell, which is actually an outermost part of the OS that interacts with user commands. Kernel and shell are terms that are used more often in Unix OSes, in the context of an IBM mainframe or Microsoft Windows system.

While don’t confuse a kernel with a basic input/output system (BIOS), it is an independent program that is stored on a chip in the computer’s circuit. On the board let’s see What is Kernel?

What is Kernel

The operating system provides us with a graphic interface so that we can give commands to the computer system. But the system cannot understand these commands directly. Therefore the code is translated into binary language, for which the core component of the operating system is used, this is the same Kernel says.

We deal with the lowest layer of the User Kernel and the kernel then deals with the system.

Kernel plays the role of a mediator between system hardware and software. This kernel is not an operating system (OS); Rather it is a central module of the operating system. This is the first program that is loaded into the protected memory area during the booting process. It is kept in that memory as long as the system is power on.

This kernel is a low-level abstraction layer. The user’s operation uses a system to interact with the system. System calls invoke the kernel, and then the kernel executes the user’s operation.

Kernel meanwhile manages other processes of the system such as process management, memory management, device management, I/O management.

What does the kernel do?

When an operating system is loaded into memory, then the kernel is loaded first and it remains in memory until the operating system shut down again. Let it happen. This kernel is responsible for all low-level tasks such as disk management, task management and memory management.

Overall, a computer kernel interfaces to the three major computer hardware components, and also provides services to the application/user interface, CPU, memory, and other hardware I/O devices.

It provides kernel as well as manages computer resources so that it can allow other programs to run and use these resources. With this, the kernel sets up memory address space for applications, loads files from application code into memory, sets up the execution stack for programs and branches out with it to specific locations for execution within programs.

What are the features of Kernel?

Let’s know about the features of the kernel.

  • It is a core component of the Operating System without which OS cannot work.
  • We can also call Kernel as the nervous system of OS.
  • This is the central core of the Operating System.
  • It controls everything in the OS including I/O Management, Process Management etc.
  • It acts as a bridge. It is between the applications and the actual data processing that is happening at the hardware level.
  • It is an interface between user applications and hardware.

What are the Responsibilities of Kernel?

Now let’s know about the responsibilities of Kernel.

1. Central Processing Unit : This kernel is responsible for how many running programs should be allocated to processors at a given time.

2. Random Access MemoryRAM  is used to store both program instructions and data. While often multiple programs want to access this memory, they want more memory which is more than the available memory in the computer.

In such a situation, it is the responsibility of the Kernel to allocate which memory which process will use, along with it to decide what to do when there is not much memory available.

3. Input/output Devices : These Kernels only allocate requests to different With applications so that I/O can be performed in the right device, it also provides convenient methods to use the device.

4. Memory Management: This kernel has full access to the system’s memory and also allows them to be safely accessed when they are needed.

5. Device Management: Kernel should maintain a list of all available devices. This list is already configured by the user or it is detected by the operating system at run time (normally it is called plug and play).

Features Which Kernel Provides?

So let us now know what are the features that the kernel provides.

1) Scheduling of Process (Dispatching)
2) Interprocess Communication
3) Process Synchronization
4) Context Switching
5) Manipulating Process Control Blocks
6) Interrupt Handling
7) Process Creation and Destruction
8) Process Suspension and Resumption

Definition of kernel

What is Kernel
What is Kernel

The function manager of the OS process is the kernel. It controls and manages all the primary tasks of the OS.

Memory Management: Kernel provides virtual and physical memory to processes to complete their execution. If a process is unable to finish in physical memory, then the kernel provides a virtual space that too hard disk In so that he can store the operation there.

This concept is called virtual mapping. When a program needs data that is not currently present in RAM, then the CPU signals the kernel for data and then the kernel also responds to the CPU, in which it writes its contents to an inactive memory block. In the possible disk (space has been created for this according to the requirement of data) and then it is also replaced by the data which is requested by the program. This scheme is called demand paging.

Scheduler: This kernel acts as a scheduler for the processes during execution. A single process is executed at a time by the processor. This kernel allocates the processor to a program from the list of running applications.

Device Management: Kernel controls the activities of other peripheral devices with the help of device drivers. Device drivers are programs that help the operating system to interact with hardware devices.

The device driver program provides an interface and helps the OS to deal with other peripheral devices such as printers, scanners, modems, keyboards, mice, etc. This driver translates operating system function calls into device-specific calls. Device drivers detect installed devices as well as search device drivers when the system is starting up.

This process uses the system call mechanism to deal with the kernel of the operating system. A system call is such a service call to the kernel from which it takes permission to perform the process execution. There is a system call machine code instruction which is used by the application program so that it can get service permission from the operating system.

Memory Management: – Kernel also manages Random Access Memory. It allocates memory for the execution of both instruction and data. It decides which process is in RAM and how much memory is required to implement a process? This kernel handle performs many operations using different mechanisms.

Types of Kernel

Let us now know about the different types or types of kernels.

Monolithic Kernels

Monolithic Kernels run all the basic system services such as process and memory management, interrupt handling and I/O communication, file system etc within the kernel space.

Monolithic kernels typically have the highest data throughput compared to all other kernels and are therefore used in large servers or job dedicated servers.

Advantages of Monolithic Kernel

1) They are smaller in source and in compiled forms
2) Less code means fewer bugs and fewer security problems.
3) System calls are used to perform operations For monolithic kernel
4) Execution is very fast
5) In this all things happen in the kernel itself so we don’t need any extra mechanism to handle I/O and process applications while making.

Disadvantages of Monolithic Kernel

1) Coding is also very difficult in kernel space because you cannot use common libraries in it.
2) Debugging in it is difficult, because rebooting the computer has to be done again and again.
3) Bugs located in a part of the kernel cause a lot of side effects
4) Kernels often become large and it becomes difficult to maintain them.
5) It is not portable – Monolithic kernels have to be rewritten frequently for each new architecture that is to be used in the OS.


While in the microkernel, the kernel provides basic functionality that allows the execution of servers and separate programs. The kernel is broken down into separate processes called key servers. Here some servers run in user space and some in kernel space.

All servers are kept separately and run in different address spaces.
Microkernels you can see in typically real-time systems 

Advantages of MicroKernel
1) It is easier to maintain than Monolithic Kernel.
2) It is Crash Resistant (meaning if a server fails) If it happens, then other servers are still working efficiently).
3) Portable
4) Small in size
5) It contains less amount of code. This increases both their stability and security.

Hybrid Kernel

It contains the best of both monolithic kernel and microkernel.

like Speed ​​and simple design of a monolithic kernel + Modularity and stability of a micro kernel

It has the qualities of both monolithic and microkernels but we cannot describe it as a specific kernel exclusively.

You can find these kernels typically on desktops, your Windows, Mac and Linux OS 

Nano kernel

This type of kernel only offers hardware abstraction, there are no services in it and kernel space is also at a minimum. A nanokernel is the basis of a hypervisor on top of which you can emulate multiple systems via virtualisation. Nanokernels are great for embedded projects.


This kernel is the smallest. It only offers process protection and resource handling. The programmer who is using this kernel is responsible for correctly accessing the device that he wants to use.

Difference between Kernel and Operating System

OS is a system software package, while the kernel is a part that manages all processes and devices of the OS.

Where the operating system is an interface between the user and the hardware. Whereas kernel is an interface between software and hardware.

Kernel helps the program to communicate with other peripheral devices.

Difference between Kernel and Operating System

OS is a system software package, while the kernel is a part that manages all processes and devices of the OS.

Where the operating system is an interface between the user and the hardware. Whereas kernel is an interface between software and hardware.

Kernel helps the program to communicate with other peripheral devices.

This makes it clear that Linux is a kernel because it contains other applications such as file-system utilities, windowing systems and graphical desktops, system administrator commands, text editors, compilers etc. are not.

While many companies add these types of applications to the Linux kernel and prepare their operating systems such as ubuntu, suse, centos, RedHat etc.

What is Kernel Panics?

The kernel handles most of the basic functions of a computer, so if it crashes then it will take down the whole computer with it. This undesirable event is called a “kernel panic” in macOS and Unix systems.

This is similar to blue screen death in Windows. To emerge from this situation, you have to restart your computer.


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