How Linux Works What Every Superuser Should Know


Linux is an incredibly powerful and versatile operating system that has been around for decades. As a superuser, it is crucial to have a solid understanding of how Linux works in order to effectively manage and troubleshoot systems. In this article, I will dive deep into the inner workings of Linux and share my personal insights and commentary along the way.


Linux is an open-source operating system that is built on the Unix philosophy of simplicity and modularity. It provides a robust and stable platform for running applications and services, making it a popular choice for servers, embedded systems, and even personal computers.

As a superuser, you have administrative privileges that allow you to perform tasks that regular users cannot. This includes managing system resources, installing software, and configuring various settings. But to truly harness the power of Linux, you need to understand how it works under the hood.

The Linux Kernel

At the core of Linux is the kernel, which acts as the bridge between the hardware and the software. It manages system resources, such as memory, processes, and input/output devices. The kernel also provides a set of system calls that allow applications to interact with the underlying hardware.

One of the fundamental concepts in Linux is the notion of file systems. Everything in Linux is treated as a file, whether it’s a physical device, a directory, or even a network connection. This uniform approach simplifies the management and access of resources.

Processes and Threads

In Linux, each running program is represented by a process, which is an instance of an executing program. Processes have their own memory space and can communicate with each other using inter-process communication (IPC) mechanisms. Within a process, there can be multiple execution units called threads, which share the same memory space.

Understanding processes and threads is essential for managing system resources and diagnosing performance issues. Tools like ps and top provide insights into running processes and their resource usage.

Memory Management

Linux uses a virtual memory system to manage the allocation and deallocation of memory. This allows each process to have its own isolated memory space, even though the physical memory is shared among multiple processes. The kernel is responsible for managing the mapping of virtual addresses to physical addresses.

The top command can be used to monitor memory usage, while tools like free and vmstat provide more detailed information about memory statistics.


As a superuser, having a deep understanding of how Linux works is crucial for effectively managing and troubleshooting systems. In this article, we explored the inner workings of Linux, including the kernel, processes and threads, and memory management. By gaining a solid grasp of these concepts, you’ll be better equipped to harness the power of Linux and ensure the smooth operation of your systems.