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while "Kernel" vs. "core" clears up the meaning with regard to fruits/plants, I'm a bit confused as to the usage of these terms in IT. Are there certain rules, as to why the e.g. linux kernel is not a core, and CPU cores aren't kernels?

Or as another example, in insurance, the program or service calculating premiums, is called 'calculation kernel' (or calculation-engine, but that is not the point of my question), not 'calculation core'.

I'm sure there are other examples where the apparent synonyms cannot be used interchangeably. Is my view incorrect? Or what are the rules pertaining to the usage of 'core' vs. 'kernel'?

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    For me, and it is personal hence a comment and not an answer, core tends to be used for hardware and firmware and kernel for software, particularly operating system software. To my knowledge the term kernel was initially used by the developers of Unix (which was the origin of Linux) to refer to the fundamental layer of the operating system in contrast to the shell which referred to the application interface layer. Whether any other operating system uses the term I don't know. – BoldBen Aug 17 '17 at 10:28
  • @BoldBen I don't know the policy of this SE, but I'd like you to post that as an answer -- it is a good explanation and worth a bit of reputation ;-) – Tom Regner Aug 30 '17 at 6:45
  • In computing it's purely a question of which term was chosen by the people setting the terminology. The overall trend is to apply "kernel" to software and "core" to hardware. Of course, firmware is a bit of a conundrum. – Hot Licks May 31 '18 at 11:49
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Having been encouraged by Tom Regner's comment in support of mine and by Hot Licks's comment which agreed with mine, I am posting this as an answer without further research. My original comment was as follows:

Core tends to be used for hardware and firmware and kernel for software, particularly operating system software. To my knowledge the term kernel was initially used by the developers of Unix (which was the origin of Linux) to refer to the fundamental layer of the operating system in contrast to the shell which referred to the application interface layer.

Whether any other operating system uses the term I don't know.

  • Microsoft Windows NT and VMS also call it kernel. Linux with GNU is modeled after UNIX, so the origin is in spirit - not in code (i.e. Linux is not the UNIX code that is just developed further. It is an independent effort). The shell is a program that sits between the user and the kernel (the idea being it is a shell around the kernel). – Ole Tange Jun 27 '19 at 20:38

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