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The kernel of the GNU/Linux system (which is normally called Linux) [Vasb] is the heart of the system: it is responsible for booting the system, for managing the machine's resources by managing the memory, file system, input/output, processes and intercommunication of processes.
Its origin dates back to August 1991, when a Finnish student called Linus Torvalds announced on a news list that he had created his own operating system core that worked together with the GNU project software and that he was offering it to the community of developers for testing and suggesting improvements for making it more usable. This was the origin of the operating system's kernel that would later come to be known as Linux.
One of the particular features of Linux is that following the Free Software philosophy, it offers the source code of the operating system itself (of the kernel), in a way that makes it a perfect tool for teaching about operating systems.
Example 4-1. Note
The Linux kernel dates back to 1991, when Linus Torvalds made it available to the community. It is one of the few operating systems that while extensively used, also makes its source code available.
Another main advantage, is that by having the source code, we can compile it to adapt it better to our system and we can also configure its parameters to improve the system's performance.
In this unit, we will look at how to handle this process of preparing a kernel for our system. How, starting with the source code, we can obtain a new version of the kernel adapted to our system. Similarly, we will discuss how to develop the configuration and subsequent compilation and how to test the new kernel we have obtained.