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A Guide to BeOS System Objects


BeOS kernel

The Kernel Icon
Location in the BeOS: /beos/system/kernel_joe

The kernel is the heart of the BeOS, providing the core system services that other parts of the BeOS build upon.


Most BeOS users have probably opened up the /beos/system directory at one time or another, to poke around and see what's in there (just as most people poke around in the System Folder on the Mac, or the /WINDOWS directory on a Windows system). After the cute dog icon, probably the most distinctive icon in the BeOS /system directory is the Kernel icon.

The BeOS kernel is the lowest-level of the BeOS operating system, and it is the most hardware-dependent portion of the BeOS. The kernel talks directly to your computer hardware, and provides higher-level services to the rest of the operating system, which does not need to know the details of how to talk to your hardware (this is one of the things that makes the BeOS portable).

Depending on the hardware on which you are running the BeOS, you'll have a different kernel. All BeOS kernels have the same icon, but the different possible file names are kernel_joe, kernel_mac, and kernel_intel. The last two are pretty obvious, but what is kernel_joe, and on what hardware does it run? This is the kernel for the BeBox, Be's original hardware platform. Why is it named kernel_joe? Learn more about kernel_joe, and Kernel Joe, in the action-packed FAQ about this topic!

If you have more than one kernel_xxx file in your /beos/system directory, that's OK. The BeOS is smart, and will use the correct kernel for your hardware. You can even delete the other kernel file(s), if you want to save a bit of disk space. But only do this if you are really sure of what you're doing! The only way to replace a mistakenly deleted kernel file is to re-install the BeOS from the CD...

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