Linux Terminology You Should Know

Continuing our series on server-related terminology, Linux terminology seems to be a sensible choice. Many of the world’s servers run Linux, especially in the web hosting industry, and a great deal of the terminology common to Linux may be unfamiliar to users who use Windows. The following terms are ones you should know.

Kernel – This is the core of the operating system. When you hear the term Linux, it is actually the kernel that bears that name. The operating system itself may be CentOS, Debian, Slackware, etc. The kernel contains hardware drivers and allows the rest of the operating system to interact with the hardware.

Daemon – Also called a “service”, a daemon typically starts running when the dedicated server is turned on and remains active as long as the server stays on. Many important hosting applications, such as the DNS server, web server, and mail server all run as daemons.

Root – The supreme ruler of the Linux world, the user named “root” is the administrative account for a server. Root users can do anything they want to a server, so there is typically only one, and most sysadmins will not even log in as root until the admin privileges are needed.

Package Management – A package on a Linux machine is a compressed archive containing all of the files that make up an application. Linux OSes use package managers to unpack the packages and install programs in their correct directories. APT and YUM are two popular package management systems that can download remote packages and install them to a computer.