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Kernel definition

A kernel is a program that lets users interface with their device’s hardware. Kernels are core components of operating systems (OS), managing processes, memory, I/O devices, and other critical tasks. Kernels are often insulated from user apps to avoid crashes.

Real kernel types

  • Monolithic kernels use the same memory space for both user and kernel services, trading system stability and modularity for better performance.
  • Microkernels use separate memory spaces for user services and kernel services. They are slower but more stable and easier to modify.
  • Hybrid kernels run non-essential kernel services in the kernel memory space while keeping essential services in the user space.
  • Nanokernels are compact kernels that support a nanosecond clock resolution.
  • Exokernels are a complex new type of kernel designed for application-specific resource allocation.