[FAQ] How is Linux Layered?


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An excellent beginner's take on the display layers for Linux/GNU :)

I have some follow up questions though... for example, font rendering is something I would think is handled by the Desktop Environment, but it seems so consistent across all three desktop environments. How is this handled?

Another question -- how difficult is it to start with just the kernel, and build up a system to the Desktop Environment? I assume it is NOT a trivial task :)

Again, great job! Thanks!

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An excellent beginner's take on the display layers for Linux/GNU  :)

I have some follow up questions though... for example, font rendering is something I would think is handled by the Desktop Environment, but it seems so consistent across all three desktop environments.  How is this handled?

Another question -- how difficult is it to start with just the kernel, and build up a system to the Desktop Environment?  I assume it is NOT a trivial task  :)

Again, great job!  Thanks!

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X handles most of the font tasks, and actually most of the GUI tasks overall. Everything GUI-wise is built up on top of X and implements more features, such as GUI toolkits like GTK and QT. I'm not sure which handles anti-aliasing of fonts, X or the DE, but anti-aliasing seems different for each environment, so it's more than likely the DE.

I'm uncertain what you mean by your second question, whether you mean a base install and building of from there or building from scratch. The former is much easier than the latter, it's mostly just building some packages. The latter is much more involved and requires a lot of work since you're building everything. Check out LFS and look at the book there.

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Great article! :)

Here I think a word is missing: "The target audience for this is quite likely someone who is considering installing Linux for the first time, or who has installed it recently, but is having ______ understanding the variety of choices."

:ninja:

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Here I think a word is missing: "The target audience for this is quite likely someone who is considering installing Linux for the first time, or who has installed it recently, but is having ______ understanding the variety of choices."

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Good catch! (Y) I'll correct that now. :yes:

Such is the advantage of Open Source: Enough eyes, and every problem is shallow (to paraphrase Linus Torvald's quote)

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  • 2 weeks later...
  • 4 weeks later...
interesting thread markjensen  :)

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Thanks. Glad you found it interesting.

This gets asked a lot, and it tough for many newcomers to understand at first.

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  • 3 months later...

Great guide mark, same for the other one's in this FAQ section...

this section is gold-dust, only just started looking at it..

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Great guide mark, same for the other one's in this FAQ section...

this section is gold-dust, only just started looking at it..

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Thanks. :)

Oh, and several of us Green Mods (fred66, rezza, Armeck and myself) have been working at getting the HOWTO & FAQs moved out to be more visible. Still in the works, though progress seems slow...

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  • 3 years later...

Good post and does in fact help a lot in Understanding how Linux Works and what setting needs to be changed or adressed to do this or that ... Either way I'm not sure if this is the place to put this but since we are talking about layers I read on Wikipedia that there are Seven layers of an OS !! Right ?? I only counted Six !! And Is this model of WIndow Managers , Kernel , Etc ... apply on all Operating System like WIndows for Example and Leopard and so on

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... but since we are talking about layers I read on Wikipedia that there are Seven layers of an OS !! Right ?? I only counted Six !! And Is this model of WIndow Managers , Kernel , Etc ... apply on all Operating System like WIndows for Example and Leopard and so on

I think you mean the OSI model for the seven layers. It has to do with communications, not Operating Systems.

Not sure if that is what you meant... :unsure:

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I think you mean the OSI model for the seven layers. It has to do with communications, not Operating Systems.

Not sure if that is what you meant... :unsure:

This is basically it : http://wiki.answers.com/Q/7_layers_of_operating_system

I'm sure I read it on WIkipedia that this model is the seven layers of the operating system : hardware, firmware, kernel, memory manager, input output manager, file manager and application layer

It seems that this is in fact the OSI model also according to Wikipedia , What exactly is this and doesn't it apply to Operating Systems ??

PS : If I'm going off topic please feel free to ignore me , I don't want to derail such a brilliant post

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OSI = Open Systems Interconnection, it's how different computers talk to each other.

As for the OS, that "layout" seems a bit strange, the memory manager and IO live in the kernel, not on top of it (unless we're talking about microkernel, but they add an extra 20 layers or so), and applications don't run on top of the file manager, they run along side it.

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It seems that this is in fact the OSI model also according to Wikipedia , What exactly is this and doesn't it apply to Operating Systems ??

It's just someone who's misunderstood and thought the OSI model applies to operating systems. It doesn't, it deals with networking (and in a very academic way, compared to IP which does not follow the OSI model and is more practically designed).

OSI = Open Systems Interconnection, it's how different computers talk to each other.

As for the OS, that "layout" seems a bit strange, the memory manager and IO live in the kernel, not on top of it (unless we're talking about microkernel, but they add an extra 20 layers or so), and applications don't run on top of the file manager, they run along side it.

On Windows (sorry, I know it's a Linux thread) the layers are technically hardware abstraction layer->drivers/kernel (scheduling, synchronization, interrupt/exception handling)->executive (memory, IO, process/thread management, networking, etc)->subsystems->applications. With the exception of the applications, most of this runs in kernel mode, so it's not a microkernel architecture in the sense that everything above the kernel runs in user mode.

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