Linux: Concepts

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In computing, a namespace is a set of signs that are used to identify and refer to objects, ensuring that all of a given set of objects have unique names so that they can be easily identified.

A Linux Namespace is a feature that partitions kernel resources such that one set of processes sees one set of resources while another set of processes sees a different set of resources. The feature works by having the same namespace for a set of resources and processes, but those namespaces refer to distinct resources

There are 8 kinds of namespaces. Namespace functionality is the same across all kinds: each process is associated with a namespace and can only see or use the resources associated with that namespace, and descendant namespaces where applicable. This way each process (or process group thereof) can have a unique view on the resources. Which resource is isolated depends on the kind of namespace that has been created for a given process group.

  • Mount (mnt)
  • Process ID (pid)
  • Network (net)
  • Interprocess Communication (ipc)
  • UTS
  • User ID (user)
  • Control group (cgroup)
  • Time

A Linux system starts out with a single namespace of each type, used by all processes. Processes can create additional namespaces and join different namespaces.


The cgroup namespace type hides the identity of the control group of which process is a member. A process in such a namespace, checking which control group any process is part of, would see a path that is actually relative to the control group set at creation time, hiding its true control group position and identity.


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