What is kernel in OS?

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In an operating system’s kernel is crucial because it serves as a link between the system’s hardware and software. It is essentially a piece of software that controls all of the hardware and other programmes on your computer so that you may use it without interfering with how it functions.

In essence, by keeping all of the processes distinct from one another but yet successfully interacting with one another, it aids in making your computer function quicker and more smoothly.

Let’s explore what the term “kernel” in the context of an operating system implies in greater depth.

What is kernel in OS?

The kernel of an operating system is a computer programme that controls input/output requests from applications and converts them into instructions for the CPU to handle data. The kernel  is a crucial part of the majority of contemporary operating systems. Its duties include controlling hardware, processes, and memory. Security is another function of the kernel, which makes sure that only approved applications may access system resources.

kernels in OS typically provide a set of APIs (Application Programming Interfaces) that allow application programmes and libraries to access system resources (such as memory, processors, and I/O devices).  The primary function of the kernel is to control communication among user-level applications and hardware components like the CPU and disc memory. The Kernel in OS will help you understand how the kernel functions in your operating system and how important it is.

Objectives of kernel in OS are:

To create communication between hardware and user-level applications.

Determining the condition of incoming processes

To handle disc operations.

Handling memory management

Controlling Task Management

Functions of a Kernel in OS

Computer Resource control: A kernel may access a variety of system resources, including the CPU, I/O devices, and other resources. It serves as a link between the user and the system’s resources.

Resource management: It is the responsibility of the kernel to distribute resources across the many processes such that each process has equal access to them.

Memory management: Each process requires a certain amount of memory. Thus, memory must be allocated and released in order for it to be executed. A Kernel is responsible for managing all of this memory.

Device management: Kernel in OS manages the allocation of peripheral components.

Types of Kernel

1. Monolithic Kernels

Monolithic Kernels are those Kernels that execute both user services & kernel services in the same memory area, i.e., no need separate storage for user services and kernel services. This helps kernel size to expand which in turn causes the Operating System’s size to grow. The operation will be begin more quickly with monolithic kernels since there is no separation between user space and kernel space.

2. Micro Kernel:

A monolithic kernel is not the same as a microkernel. Because user services and kernel services are enforce in distinct regions in a microkernel, it is a little bit different. It decreases the size of the Kernel, which in turn reduces the size of the Os by utilising User Space and Kernel Space.
The interaction among applications and services is carried out with the aid of message parsing since we employ separate areas for user and kernel services, which slows down execution.

4. Exokernel.

The MIT Parallel and Distributed Operating Systems group created the operating system kernel known as Exokernel. The end-to-end design of this kernel uses the fewest possible hardware abstractions. It manages how apps are given physical resources. The ability to do application-specific customisation is made possible by the separation of resource protection and management.

3. Hybrid Kernel

It consists of a Monolithic Kernel and a Microkernel together. It makes advantage of the Microkernel’s modularity and the Monolithic Kernel’s speed.
In order for the code to run more rapidly than it would in user-space, hybrid kernels are small kernels that contain some non-essential code. In order to decrease performance overhead, several services, including as file systems and network stacks, operates in kernel space; nonetheless, kernel code is still executes as servers in user space.

5. Nanokernel:

As suggested by the name, the kernel’s whole source code is very minimal. This refers to the size of the code that runs in the hardware’s privileged mode. The kernel’s ability to handle a nanosecond clock precision is referred to as a “nanokernel.”

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