Understanding the Linux kernel – Anatomy of the Linux kernel

Posted on in Categories Links, Linux last updated June 7, 2007

This article offers the history and architectural decomposition of the Linux kernel. This article just scratched the surface of the Linux kernel architecture and its features and capabilities to get overall idea about the Linux kernel. From the article:

The Linux kernel is the core of a large and complex operating system, and while it’s huge, it is well organized in terms of subsystems and layers. In this article, you explore the general structure of the Linux kernel and get to know its major subsystems and core interfaces. Where possible, you get links to other IBM articles to help you dig deeper.

Given that the goal of this article is to introduce you to the Linux kernel and explore its architecture and major components, let’s start with a short tour of Linux kernel history, then look at the Linux kernel architecture from 30,000 feet, and, finally, examine its major subsystems. The Linux kernel is over six million lines of code, so this introduction is not exhaustive. Use the pointers to more content to dig in further.

While Linux is arguably the most popular open source operating system, its history is actually quite short considering the timeline of operating systems. In the early days of computing, programmers developed on the bare hardware in the hardware’s language. The lack of an operating system meant that only one application (and one user) could use the large and expensive device at a time. Early operating systems were developed in the 1950s to provide a simpler development experience. Examples include the General Motors Operating System (GMOS) developed for the IBM 701 and the FORTRAN Monitor System (FMS) developed by North American Aviation for the IBM 709.

Introduction to the Linux kernel - The fundamental architecture of the GNU/Linux operating system

Anatomy of the Linux kernel

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