What is Kernel and how is it Different from Operating System?

If you use computers then you must have heard the name of Kernel. But do you know what is Kernel? Where is it needed? If not then by the end of today’s article you will know about all the things related to Kernel. Stay tuned with us for complete information.

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

What is Kernel
What is Kernel

A kernel is most often 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 more often used in Unix OSes, in lieu of an IBM mainframe or Microsoft Windows systems.

Whereas a kernel should not be confused with any one of the basic input / output system (BIOS), but it is an independent program which is stored in a chip on the circuit board of the computer.

So today I thought why should you all be provided complete information about what is the kernel and how it works. With this, you can get to know about the part of this basic C computer . So let’s start without delay.

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 directly understand these commands. Therefore, the code is translated into binary language for which the core component of the operating system is used, it is called Kernel .

We deal with the lowest layer of the user kernel and the same kernel again 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 in the protected memory area during the booting process. It stays in that memory as long as the system power is on.

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

Kernel manages other processes of the same system like process management, memory management, device management, I / O management.

What does the kernel do?

Like I have already said that a kernel is the core component of the operating system. It acts as a bridge using interprocess communication and system calls, between applications and data processing which is performed in the hardware level.

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

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

Along with providing kernel, it also manages computer resources, so that it can allow it to run other programs and use these resources. It also setup memory address space for kernel applications, loads files from application code into memory, sets up execution stack for programs and branches out with it to execution of particular locations within programs.

What are the features of Kernel?

Let’s know about the features of kernel.

  • It is a core component of the operating system without which the OS cannot function.
  • We can also call Kernel 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 between applications and actual data processing which is happening in the hardware level.
  • This is an interface between user applications and hardware .

What are Kernel’s Responsibilities?

Now let’s know about Kernel’s responsibilities.

1. Central Processing Unit : It is Kernel who takes the responsibility of allocating how many running programs to processors at any time.

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

In such a situation, Kernel has the obligation to allocate which memory will use which process, along with that also decide what to do when more memory is not available.

3. Input / output devices : These Kernel only allocate requests from different applications so that I / O can be performed in the right device, along with it also provides convenient methods to use the device.

4. Memory Management : This Kernel has full access over the memory of the system and it also allows them to access them safely 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 has been detected by the operating system at run time (normally it is called plug and play).

Which features does Kernel provide?

So let’s now know what are the features that kernel offers.

1) Scheduling of Process (Dispatching)
2) Interprocess Communication
3) Process Synchronization
4) Context Switching

5) Manipulation of Process Control Blocks

6) Interrupt Handling

7) Do Process Creation and Destruction

8) Process Suspension and Resumption

Definition of kernel

This kernel is the function manager of the OS process. 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 not finished in physical memory, then the kernel provides a virtual space in the hard disk so that it 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 kernel to the data and then the kernel also responds to the CPU, writing those contents into an inactive memory block. In the enabled disk (for this a space is created according to the requirement of the 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 like a scheduler for processes during execution. 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 the remaining 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 printer, scanner, modems, keyboard, mouse, 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 started.

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

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

Types of Kernel

Let us now know about different types or types of kernel.

Monolithic Kernels

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

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

Advantages of Monolithic Kernel

1) They are smaller in Source and Compiled forms
2) Less code means less bugs and security problems are also less.
3) System calls are used to perform operations in monolithic kernel
4) Execution is very fast
5) Everything is in the kernel itself, so we do not need any extra mechanism I / O and Process. During the application to handle.

Disadvantages of Monolithic Kernel

1) Coding is also very hard in kernel space, because you cannot use common libraries in it.
2) Debugging is hard to do, as rebooting the computer is frequent
3) Bugs in one part of the Kernel cause too many side effects
4) Kernels often become large and difficult to maintain. .
5) It is not portable – Monolithic kernels have to be rewritten repeatedly for each new architecture that is to be used in the OS.

Micro Kernel

At the same time, in kernel, kernel provides basic functionality from which it allows execution of servers and separate programs. Kernel is broken in separate processes called servers. Here some servers run in user space and some in kernel space.

All the servers are kept separately and run in different address space.
You can typically view microkernels in real-time systems .

Advantages of Micro Kernel
1) It is easier to maintain than Monolithic Kernel.
2) It is Crash resistant (meaning if one server fails, then other servers are still working efficiently).
3) Portable
4) Are small in size
5) It contains small amount of code. This increases both their stability and security.

Hybrid Kernel

It has the best of both monolithic kernel and micro kernel.

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

It has the qualities of both monolithic and micro kernels but we cannot tell it a specific kernel exclusively.

You can typically see these kernels in desktops, your Windows, Mac and Linux OS .

Nano kernel

This type of kernel offers only hardware abstraction, there are no services in it and also the kernel space is also in minimum. A nanokernel is the basis of a hypervisor above which you can emulate multiple systems via virtualisation. Nanokernels are excellent 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 would like to use.

Difference between kernel and operating system

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

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

Kernel helps the program to communicate with other peripheral devices.

Is LINUX a Kernel or an Operating System?

By the way, there is a difference between kernel and Os. Like I have already told you that Kernel is the heart of OS that manages all its core features, while if some useful applications and utilities are added to that kernel, then this complete package is called an OS. is.

From this it can be said that an operating system has a kernel space as well as a user space.

This makes it clear that Linux is a kernel because there are no other applications like file-system utilities, windowing systems and graphical desktops, system administrator commands, text editors, compilers etc.

At the same time many companies add these types of applications to linux kernel and prepare their operating systems like ubuntu, suse, centOS, redHat etc.

What is Kernel Panics?

Since kernel handles most of the basic functions of a computer, if it crashes then it will take down the entire 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.

NOTE Kernel panics often arise due to hardware communication issues. Therefore, if your computer is performing issue like kernel panics very often, then you should unplug all unnecessary devices, this can end your problem.


I hope you have liked this article, What is Kernel . It has always been my endeavor to provide complete information about Kernel to the readers, so that they do not have to search in any other sites or internet with reference to that article.

This will also save their time and they will also get all the information in one place. If you have any doubts about this article or you want that there should be some improvement in it, then for this you can write down comments.

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