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MacWeek: iGeek: Unix and Mac OS X

Aug 27, 2000, 16:43 (6 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by David K. Every)

"Unix was a good foundation, or early operating system (OS). But as I hinted in my last column it isn't an OS any more; mostly it's a kernel with a shell and some services on top."

"A kernel provides three primary capabilities:

  • Messaging, a set of routines to help applications (processes) or parts of applications (threads) talk to each other;
  • Scheduler, to give the many applications (or parts of applications) some processing time to get work done;
  • Memory management, so that applications have an area in memory in which to run, protected from other applications' bugs that might affect them."

"There are supporting elements on top of the kernel, such as drivers to help programmers talk to hardware, libraries to provide extra code functionality, and a set of commands (a shell) to enable users to tell applications or the OS what to do. But almost everything else outside the Unix kernel is considered a utility or something extra, not part of the core OS."

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