Linux - Design

Design

A Linux-based system is a modular Unix-like operating system. It derives much of its basic design from principles established in Unix during the 1970s and 1980s. Such a system uses a monolithic kernel, the Linux kernel, which handles process control, networking, and peripheral and file system access. Device drivers are either integrated directly with the kernel or added as modules loaded while the system is running.

Separate projects that interface with the kernel provide much of the system's higher-level functionality. The GNU userland is an important part of most Linux-based systems, providing the most common implementation of the C library, a popular shell, and many of the common Unix tools which carry out many basic operating system tasks. The graphical user interface (or GUI) used by most Linux systems is built on top of an implementation of the X Window System.

Some components of an installed Linux system are:

  • A bootloader - for example GRUB or LILO. This is a program which is executed by the computer when it is first turned on, and loads the Linux kernel into memory.
  • An init program. This is a process launched by the Linux kernel, and is at the root of the process tree: in other terms, all processes are launched through init. It starts processes such as system services and login prompts (whether graphical or in terminal mode)
  • Software libraries which contain code which can be used by running processes. On Linux systems using ELF-format executable files, the dynamic linker which manages use of libraries is "ld-linux.so". The most commonly used software library on Linux systems is the GNU C Library.
  • User interface programs such as command shells or windowing environments

Read more about this topic:  Linux

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