Welcome to the Slackware Documentation Project

This is an old revision of the document!

The Linux Kernel

You've probably heard people talking about compiling the kernel or building a kernel, but what exactly is the kernel and what does it do? The kernel is the center of your computer. It is the foundation for the entire operating system. The kernel acts as a bridge between the hardware and the applications. This means that the kernel is (usually) the sole piece of software responsible for ordering around the hardware components of your computer. It is the kernel that instructs the hard drive to search for a certain data stream. It is the kernel that instructs your network card to transmit rapid changes in voltage. The kernel also listens to hardware as well. When the network card detects a remote computer sending information, it forwards that information to the kernel. This makes the kernel both the single most important piece of software on your computer and the most complex.

What Does the Kernel Do?

Working with Modules

Compiling A Kernel and Why to do So

Chapter Navigation

Previous Chapter: Keeping Track of Updates


  • Originally written by Alan Hicks, Chris Lumens, David Cantrell, Logan Johnson

In Other Languages
Translations of this page?:
QR Code
QR Code slackbook:linux_kernel (generated for current page)