If you ever come across a certain term within Unix context which you don't understand, this page will be where I'll try to help you out. Leave a comment below to suggest new definitions to be included.
kernel – a Unix kernel is a core software component of any OS. Essentially, it's a program with a number of statically or dynamically linked modules which provide basic functionality every Unix program will need for execution. Kernel provides services of memory and process control, file and I/O management and network access.
The kernel provides basic services for all other parts of the operating system, typically including memory management, process management, file management and I/O (input/output) management (i.e., accessing the peripheral devices). These services are requested by other parts of the operating system or by application programs through a specified set of program interfaces referred to as system calls.
Operating System – a special software kit which manages hardware available on your system and allows users run applications and share limited resources in terms of memory, CPU, disk space or networking bandwidth. If you ever worked on a PC, you have used an OS. Most commonly it's a version of Microsoft Windows, but lately Linux operating systems like Ubuntu and RedHat are gaining a considerable share of users.
runlevel – a defined mode of Unix OS operation. Most usually, you wil find 7 runlevels on your system, numbered from 0 to 6. Moving your OS from one runlevel to another essentially brings it to different controlled states – runlevel 0 means halting a system, runlevel 5 will initiate a shutdown and switching to runlevel 6 will reboot the system.
SMP – Symmetric Multi Processing – most commonly used to specify the type of an OS kernel. SMP kernels support multiple processors and multiple processor cores on your system, and are pretty much the standard today.
symbolic link – a special type of file that contains a reference to another file or directory in the form of an absolute or relative path. Simply put, accessing symlink will mean accessing the original file it points to. However, removing a symbolic link will not remove neither the original file nor the data it refers to.
Unix epoch – a moment in time at 00:00:00 UTC on January 1, 1970. Widely used in Unix-like systems as a starting point for measuring points in time.
Unix time – a system for tracking time. In Unix-like operating systems, time is measured in a number of seconds elapsed since 00:00:00 UTC on January 1, 1970.
UUID -Universally Unique IDentifier, an alpha-numeric label which can be assigned to every storage device on your Unix system (currently used in Ubuntu and many other Linux distros). UUIDs are guaranteed to be unique on your system, thus ensuring each storage device will always be referred by a unique label. UUIDs are created for each drive and each partition found in your system.