The main difference between program and process is that a program is a set of instructions that allows the CPU to perform a certain task while a process is a program in execution.
The operating system is the interface between the user and the hardware. The core of the operating system is the kernel. It performs multiple important tasks such as memory management, process management, file handling, IO device handling and many more. Program and process are two terms related to an operating system. A program is a set of instructions while a process is a program in execution.
Key Areas Covered
1. What is a Program
– Definition, Functionality
2. What is a Process
– Definition, Functionality
3. What is the Difference Between Program and Process
– Comparison of Key Differences
CPU, Kernel, Operating System, Program, Process
What is a Program
A program is a collection of instructions that explains the task the CPU should perform. Moreover, it is important to follow an algorithm when writing programs because it can increase the program efficiency. Furthermore, a programmer is a person who can write computer programs.
There are various programming languages. Major two types of programming languages are high level and low-level languages. High-level languages follow a syntax similar to the English language. The programmer can easily understand and read those instructions but the CPU cannot. Therefore, it is necessary to translate the high-level source code into a machine readable and understandable machine code. Java, C, C++, Python, and, PHP are some common high-level programming languages.
Low-level programming languages are one level below high-level languages and one level ahead of machine language. These languages are closer to hardware level than high-level languages. The programmer should have a good understanding of computer architecture to write programs in low-level languages. One common low-level language is Assembly language.
What is a Process
A process is a program in execution. A process executes one after the other. A programmer writes a program using a programming language on a text editor or an Integrated Development Environment (IDE). When he executes this program, it becomes a process. It performs all the tasks defined in the program. In addition to execution, it is possible to create, delete and schedule processes.
When executing the program, the process loads into the main memory. A process in the main memory contains stack, heap, data, and text. They are as follows.
Stack – Contain temporary information. e.g. Local variables, return addresses, etc.
Heap – Allows allocating memory to a process at run time
Data – Consist of static and global variables
Text – Contains the value of the program counter and the contents of the processor’s registers
Difference Between Program and Process
A program is a collection of instructions that perform a specific task when executed by a computer while a process is the instance of a computer program that is being executed. Thus, this is the main difference between program and process.
Also, the lifetime is another major difference between program and process. A program has a longer lifetime than a process.
The hard disk stores the programs and these programs do not require resources while processes require resources such as memory, IO devices, and, CPU. Hence, this is another difference between program and process.
Program and process are two terms in operating systems such as Linux and Windows. The main difference between program and process is that a program is a set of instructions that allows the CPU to perform a certain task while a process is a program in execution. In brief, a program is passive in nature while a process is active in nature.
1. “C Hello World Program” By Esquivalience – Own work (CC0) via Commons Wikimedia
2. “Process states”By A3r0 assumed – Own work assumed (based on copyright claims) (Public Domain) via Commons Wikimedia