Difference Between Similar Terms and Objects

Difference Between Operating System and Kernel

linux_kernel_amOperating System vs Kernel

For most people, using a computer is second nature. This is made possible by the operating system that is running on top of the computer and hardware and makes it possible to communicate with it without having to use machine language or binary. The operating system provides us with an interface, whether graphic or text, where we can view the result of the commands we enter. It also provides us with an array of tools to configure the computer to our liking, at the very barest. But all this would not be possible without the kernel. The kernel is the core of the operating system and it is responsible for translating the commands into something that can be understood by the computer.

The aspect that a lot of programmers like about the kernel is in the abstraction. Hardware abstraction allows programmers to write code that can work on a wide array of hardware. Without hardware abstraction, each program needs to be written specifically for a given hardware configuration and would probably not work in another. This is the case with device drivers. These are specific pieces of code that identifies the hardware and gives the operating system a means to communicate with the device.

Although the kernel is the core of the operating system, most people are not even aware of it existence because it is buried behind a lot of other software. To provide a whole package that lets people use their computers, an operating system includes software that covers a lot of the common uses of computers. This includes a simple word processing application and a media player among other things.

Applications are created for specific applications as it needs to interact with its kernel in order to communicate with the hardware beneath it. Since each kernel is different, applications for one operating system are not able to execute on others. Some applications are also not capable of executing in older or newer versions of the same operating system due to the changes that are implemented.

Summary:
1. An operating system is a software package that communicates directly to the computer hardware and all your applications run on top of it while the kernel is the part of the operating system that communicates directly to the hardware
2. Though each operating system has a kernel, this is buried behind a lot of other software and most users don’t even know it exists


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4 Comments

  1. thankyou…
    it helped clear the basic confusion i had…

  2. thanks for your clarification .It clear and helped me a lot

  3. Thank you! To the point!

  4. I dont understand …what do u want to say..by this line where both communicate directly with hardware………
    An operating system is a software package that communicates directly to the computer hardware and all your applications run on top of it while the kernel is the part of the operating system that communicates directly to the hardware

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