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Why does LINUX keep crashing? Is it the vendors the other programs it runs with?

What happens when all this open source stuff runs together and jut one or two programs have a bad piece of code in it?


Here's a quick and simple operating system primer for you: in a modern operating system, there are at least two levels of program execution. The lowest level is often called "kernel mode", while the uppermost level is "user mode". Software in kernel mode has access to the hardware directly, and can essentially perform any task, including crash the machine. Software in user mode, on the other hand, has no direct access to hardware, and can only interact with other programs by communicating to the kernel-mode software, which passes these communications to the intended receiver. No user mode program can ever crash the machine, unless the kernel allows it to, either by design or by design flaw.

"Vendor"-written software typically runs in user mode. No such software can crash the machine, given a proper kernel. If you think you've found a bug that crashes the machine, you might want to contact the person who has written the portion which seems affected. I've seen Linux kernel bugs turned around, from reporting to fix, within 24 hours, so these people do indeed care.

Note that no amount of software can prevent badly-built hardware from crashing. Many PC manufacturers deliberately skimp on the quality of their parts, knowing that users will not be able to distinguish crashes due to bad hardware versus crashes due to the most popular operating system.

I just don't get how LINUX with so many different people wrting code and screwing things up how this can ever work.

Some 18 year old kid messing with code in an OPEN source environment could cause an entire system to come down.


Perhaps you "don't get" it because you don't understand the separation of priveleges introduced between the kernel and the user. Normal users cannot access any functionality of the hardware except indirectly through and with permission of the kernel, and hence users cannot crash the machine if the kernel is designed properly.

If you want an example of how an 18-year old kid messing with code in a CLOSED source environment can be damaging, please familiarize yourself with CODE RED.
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