The kernel is a critical program for any computer to operate. It makes up the core framework of a computer’s operating system (OS). The kernel has unlimited access to everything in the computer, which it needs to manage the computer effectively. After the bootloader, it is the first program to to run when you turn your computer on. After loading, the kernel handles the loading of the rest of the OS, as well as many other key aspects of your computer’s operation.
The kernel handles input/output (I/O) requests between hardware and software. Hardware, like your computer’s hard drive, and software, like Microsoft Word, cannot communicate directly with one another. So, when you type a document in Word and want to save it, something has to tell the hard drive that Word would like to save something to it. That is what the kernel’s job is. The kernel acts as a bridge between computer software and computer hardware.
The kernel handles requests made to the central processing unit (CPU). All of your programs need to be processed in order to do what you need them to do. The kernel decides which programs get to be processed and when, so that processing can be a smooth transition from one program to the next.
The kernel also manages random access memory (RAM). Your computer has a limited amount of RAM, and all your programs need some RAM when they are open and running. The kernel decides which programs get which sections of RAM, and also handles problems if your computer runs out of available RAM.
The kernel also handles everything that is connected to your computer, like your keyboard, mouse, flash drives, speakers, etc. The kernel makes sure all these devices have the resources they need to function, and allow them to communicate with the various programs on your computer.
Everything the kernel does, it does in a protected part of the computer, called kernel space. You, as the user, do everything you can do in a part called user space. These two spaces never interact directly, which prevents users from making mistakes which could damage the kernel. This is also why a program can crash without the entire computer crashing.
The kernel is the core of any computer system. It is the bridge between the physical world of hardware and the virtual world of software. It handles every request to a computer, from typing to saving to listening to music. The kernel is the core.