Conceptual Architecture of the Linux Kernel Quick Note (1)

  • The Linux operating system is composed of four major subsystems:
  1. User Applications — examples include a word-processing application and a web-browser.
  2. O/S Services — considered part of the operating system; also, the programming interface to the kernel is included.
  3. Linux Kernel — abstracts and mediates access to the hardware resources.
  4. Hardware Controllers — ¬†for example, the CPU, memory hardware, hard disks, etc.
  • Each subsystem layer can only communicate with the subsystem layers that are immediately adjacent to it.
  • The dependencies between subsystems are from the top down.


  • presents a virtual machine interface to user processes.
  • composed of five main subsystems
  1. Process Scheduler
  2. Memory Manager
  3. Virtual File System
  4. Network Interface
  5. Inter-Process Communication
Kernel Subsystem Overview

Kernel Subsystem Overview

System Data Structures

  1. Task List
  2. Memory Map
  3. I-nodes
  4. Data Connection

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