logical partition A type of x86 hard disk partition that has no entry in the primary partition table. Instead, logical partitions are carried within an extended partition.
loop A programming or scripting construct allowing multiple executions of a segment of code. Typically terminated through the use of a conditional expression.
LUG See Linux user group (LUG).
MAC address See Media Access Control (MAC) address.
machine name The portion of a hostname that identifies a computer on a network, as opposed to the network as a whole (for instance, gingko is the machine name portion of gingkgo.example.com). The machine name is sometimes used in reference to the entire hostname.
main memory The main type of RAM in a computer, as opposed to cache memory.
major version number The first number in a program's version number. For instance, if a program's version number is 1.2.3, the major version number is 1.
master One of two EIDE/ATAPI devices on a single EIDE chain. The master device gets a lower Linux device letter than the slave device does.
Master Boot Record (MBR) The first sector of a hard disk. The MBR contains code that the BIOS runs during the boot process, as well as the primary partition table.
MBR See Master Boot Record (MBR).
Media Access Control (MAC) address Low-level address associated with a piece of network hardware. The MAC address is usually stored on the hardware itself, and it is used for local network addressing only. Addressing between networks (such as on the Internet) uses higher-level addresses, such as an IP address.
mode The permissions of a file. In conjunction with the file's owner and group, the mode determines who may access a file and in what ways.
mode lines Definition of the timings required by particular video resolutions running at particular refresh rates.
modem This word is short for "modulator/demodulator." It's a device for transferring digital data over an analog transmission medium. Traditionally, the analog transmission medium has been the normal telephone network, but the word "modem" is increasingly being applied to devices used for broadband Internet access, as well.
module A kernel driver or other kernel component that's stored in a separate file. Linux can load modules on demand or on command, saving RAM when modules aren't in use and reducing the size of the kernel.
motherboard The main circuit board in a computer. The CPU, RAM, and add-on cards typically plug directly into the motherboard, although some designs place some of these components on extender cards. The motherboard is also sometimes referred to as the mainboard or the system board.
mount point A directory in a filesystem (meaning 2) at which a new filesystem (meaning 1) is attached. Mount points are typically empty directories before their host filesystems are mounted.
mounted A state in which a filesystem (meaning 1) is attached to its associated mount point.
NetBEUI A network stack similar to AppleTalk or TCP/IP in broad outline, but used primarily only on local networks.
NetBIOS Networking protocols that are often used in conjunction with NetBEUI or TCP/IP. NetBIOS underlies the SMB/CIFS file sharing protocols used by Microsoft Windows and implemented in Linux by Samba.
netmask See network mask.
Network Filesystem (NFS) A file sharing protocol used among Linux and Unix computers.
Network Information Service (NIS) A network protocol that allows computers to share simple database files. Commonly used to provide centralized login authentication and as a substitute for DNS on small networks.
network mask A bit pattern that identifies the portion of an IP address that's an entire network and the part that identifies a computer on that network. The pattern may be expressed as four decimal bytes separated by dots (as in 255.255.255.0) or as the number of network bits following an IP address and a slash (as in 192.168.45.203/24). The network mask is also referred to as the netmask or subnet mask.
NFS See Network Filesystem (NFS).
NIS See Network Information Service (NIS).
non-rewinding tape device A tape device file that does not cause the tape to automatically rewind when the job is done. The non-rewinding nature of the device is indicated by the presence of a leading n in the device filename, such as /dev/nst0 or /dev/nht0. This file is used for handling multiple backups on a single tape. See also rewinding tape device.
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