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Definitions & Terms

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Karnaugh Map:

  • A Karnaugh map (K-map) is a pictorial method used to minimize Boolean expressions without having to use Boolean algebra theorems and equation manipulations. A K-map can be thought of as a special version of a truth table. Using a K-map, expressions with two to four variables are easily minimized. Expressions with five to six variables are more difficult but achievable, and expressions with seven or more variables are extremely difficult (if not impossible) to minimize using a K-map.


  • In the U.S., Kbps stands for kilobits per second (thousands of bits per second) and is a measure of bandwidth (the amount of data that can flow in a given time) on a data transmission medium. Higher bandwidths are more conveniently expressed in megabits per second (Mbps, or millions of bits per second) and in gigabits per second (Gbps, or billions of bits per second). In international English outside the U.S., the equivalent usage is "kbps" or "kbits s-1.".

KDE - K Desktop Environment:

  • See K Desktop Environment.

K Desktop Environment - KDE:

  • K Desktop Environment (KDE) is an open source graphical desktop environment for UNIX workstations. Initially called the Kool Desktop Environment, KDE is an ongoing project with development taking place on the Internet and discussions held through the official KDE mailing list, numerous newsgroups, and Internet Relay Chat (IRC) channels. KDE has a complete graphical user interface (GUI) and includes a file manager, a window manager, a help system, a configuration system, tools and utilities, and several applications. The most popular suite of KDE applications is KOffice, which includes a word processor, a spreadsheet application, a presentation application, a vector drawing application, and image editing tools. KOffice was released with KDE version 2.0 October 2000. On December 5, 2000, KDE 2.0.1 was released.
  • Matthias Ettrich launched the KDE project in October 1996 with the goal of making the UNIX platform more attractive and easy to use for computer users who are familiar with a graphical interface instead of typed commands. Today, KDE is used with Linux, Solaris , FreeBSD, OpenBSD, and LinuxPPC. Several hundred software programmers from all over the world contribute to the development of KDE.


  • Kermit is a popular file transfer and management protocol and suite of communications software programs with advantages over existing Internet protocols such as File Transfer Protocol and Telnet. It is freeware , developed and maintained by members of the Kermit Project at Columbia University. (However, you're invited to purchase shrink-wrapped versions and/or the manuals to help support the project.) The Kermit protocol is described as "fast, robust, extensible, tunable, and medium-independent." In addition to the protocol support, the Kermit suite includes terminal emulation, character-set translation, and scripting. The suite can be installed on almost any operating system , including Windows, UNIX, DOS, VMS, OS/2, and a number of mainframe operating systems. Most versions support both direct or dialed serial connections (with a modem) and network connections (Telnet and often others such as Rlogin, LAT, or X.25).
  • Some advantages of Kermit are:
  • * You can write a script that will allow a sequence of file transfers to happen with a single command
  • * You can transfer an entire file directory and its subdirectories with a single command
  • * Text and binary files can be sent in the same file transfer
  • * Character-sets can be translated as part of the transfer (for example, from EBCDIC to ASCII)
  • * Files can be transferred through firewalls and network address translators.


  • The Kernel is the essential center of a computer operating system, the core that provides basic services for all other parts of the operating system. A synonym is nucleus. A kernel can be contrasted with a shell, the outermost part of an operating system that interacts with user commands. Kernel and shell are terms used more frequently in UNIX and some other operating systems than in IBM mainframe systems.
  • Typically, a kernel (or any comparable center of an operating system) includes an interrupt handler that handles all requests or completed I/O operations that compete for the kernel's services, a scheduler that determines which programs share the kernel's processing time in what order, and a supervisor that actually gives use of the computer to each process when it is scheduled. A kernel may also include a manager of the operating system's address spaces in memory or storage, sharing these among all components and other users of the kernel's services. A kernel's services are requested by other parts of the operating system or by application through a specified set of program interfaces sometimes known as system calls.
  • Because the code that makes up the kernel is needed continuously, it is usually loaded into computer storage in an area that is protected so that it will not be overlaid with other less frequently used parts of the operating system. The kernel is not to be confused with the Basic Input/Output System (BIOS). Some kernels have been developed independently for use in any operating system that wants to use it. A well-known example is the Mach kernel, developed at Carnegie-Mellon University, and currently used in a version of the Linux operating system for Apple's PowerMac computers.


  • In cryptography, a Key is a variable value that is applied using an algorithm to a string or block of unencrypted text to produce encrypted text, or to decrypt encrypted text. The length of the key is a factor in considering how difficult it will be to decrypt the text in a given message.

Key FOB:

  • A Key FOB is a type of security token: a small hardware device with built-in authentication mechanisms. Just as the keys held on an ordinary real-world key chain or fob control access to the owner's home or car, the mechanisms in the key fob control access to network services and information. The key fob (and similar devices, such as smart cards) provide two-factor authentication: the user has a personal identification number (PIN), which authenticates them as the device's owner; after the user correctly enters their PIN, the device displays a number which allows them to log on to the network. Because a key fob is a physical object, it is easy for the owner to know if it has been stolen. In comparison, a password can be stolen (or guessed) and used for an extended period before -- if ever -- the theft is detected.

Killer App:

  • A "Killer App" is jargon in the computer industry for an application program that intentionally or unintentionally gets you to make the decision to buy the system the application runs on. A classic example of a killer app was the spreadsheet program, the first of which was called VisiCalc, followed later by Lotus 1-2-3. The spreadsheet application helped introduce the personal computer into the department level of large and small businesses. A killer app can refer to a generic type of application that hasn't existed before, to a particular product that first introduces a new application type, or to any application with wide appeal.
  • When a new kind of computer hardware product comes out, such as a hand-held computer, manufacturers offer or hope to entice others to develop what they believe will be the killer app that will motivate potential customers to buy the new computer. In recent ads, IBM says that the killer app for e-business (which is both a concept and an array of Internet products and services that IBM sells) is "an application deployed over the Web that makes it easier to do the things you already do." Clearly, the Web browser and the Internet servers it communicates with became the killer app of the 1990s.


  • A kilobyte (KB) is a unit of measure equal to 1,024 bytes. Measuring the number of kilobytes tells you the size of a file. One Kilobyte = 1KB = 1024B = 2^10B. In international English outside the U.S., the equivalent usage is sometimes "kbyte".


  • Klez is an Internet worm that launches automatically when a user previews or reads an e-mail message containing Klez on a system that has not been patched for a vulnerability in Microsoft Internet Explorer mail clients. It is not necessary for a user to explicitly open an attachment in order for Klez to execute . There have been more than a half-dozen variations of Klez since it was first reported in October of 2001. Klez, which consists of two components - the main worm and a Windows executable infector, searches Windows machines for e-mail addresses in everything from documents to cached Web pages. The worm uses its own version of Simple Mail Transport Protocol (SMTP ) to mail itself to the addresses it finds. Typically, the subject line in a Klez e-mail is one of 120 pre-programmed possibilities, making the worm difficult for many end-users to recognize. It copies itself to the Windows system directory with a random file name and sets the registry key to point to the worm file so that it runs on startup.
  • Klez is generally considered to be a nuisance worm because it doesn't carry a destructive payload, but it can overwhelm mail servers and require extensive cleanup time. Klez also has a unique "social" payload because it can spoof the "From:" field in an e-mail. You may receive an angry response to an e-mail you never sent if Klez finds your address in an infected computer and uses it. Some versions of the worm carry the Elkern virus, a malicious code that attempts to disable anti-virus software by targeting files with the names of major anti-virus vendors.
  • Users can prevent infection by making sure they have installed the patch for the Internet Explorer vulnerability that allows the worm to execute, and by regularly updating their anti-virus software. Symantec, which has upgraded the Klez worm and its variations to a level four threat (on a scale of five), offers a special software tool to remove the worm. Klez is thought to have originated in Asia, possibly in the Guangdong province of China, where Code Red is thought to have originated.


  • With regards to technology, engineering and design, the term kludge (pronounced Klooj ) is used to describe a clumsy or poorly designed device or tool, be it hardware or software. Generally the results of abbreviated engineering and or development efforts, which, as from the use of limited resources, may be of a dubious nature. A product that it frequently the result of some temporary need, hence a solution less evolved from that which one might be consider optimum for a given situation or condition. The entomology for the word kluge believed to have stemmed from the German word "klug" for clever and smart.


  • A knowbot is a program that automatically searchs Internet sites and gathers information from them according to user-specified criteria. A knowbot is more frequently called an intelligent agent or simply an agent. A knowbot should not be confused with a search engine crawler or spider . A crawler or spider progam visits Web sites and gathers information according to some generalized criteria and this information is then indexed so that it can be used for searching by many individual users. A knowbot works with specific and easily changed criteria that conform to or anticipate the needs of the user or users. Its results are then organized for presentation but not necessarily for searching. An example would be a knowbot (sometimes also called a newsbot) that visited major news-oriented Web sites each morning and provided a digest of stories (or links to them) for a personalized news page.

Korn Shell:

  • The Korn shell is the UNIX shell (command execution program, often called a command interpreter) that was developed by David Korn of Bell Labs as a comprehensive combined version of other major UNIX shells. Incorporating all the features of C shell (csh) and Tab C-shell (tcsh) with the script language features similar to that of the Bourne shell, the Korn shell is considered the most efficient shell. Korn, Bourne, and C are the three most commonly used UNIX shells.
  • The Korn shell is considered a member of the Bourne shell family and uses as its shell prompt (character displayed to indicate readiness for user input) the $ symbol. Because it is the easiest shell to use, inexperienced users usually prefer the Korn shell and, not surprisingly, it is the one most often used in commercial environments. Sometimes known by its program name ksh, the Korn is the default shell on many UNIX systems.

Kriz Virus:

  • Discovered in the fall of 1999, the Kriz Virus (known more formally as W32.Kriz, W32.Kriz.dr, or PE_KRIZ) infects files on Windows 9x and Windows NT and 2000 systems. It has a potentially devastating payload that triggers on December 25th of any year once an infected file is run. When this happen the virus overwrites files on the floppy disk drive, hard drive, RAM drive, and network drives. It also erases the information stored on the computer's basic input/output system (BIOS). Although this can only happen on certain types of BIOS systems, a successful attempt could prevent the computer from booting up - even if a floppy disk is used. This behavior is similar to that caused by the CIH virus. In some cases, the Kriz virus will corrupt the file it infects and cleaning may not be possible.
  • W32.Kriz is known as a polymorphic virus, meaning it will reside in computer memory until the next time the system is rebooted. This virus encrypts its code, leaving only a small random decryptor. This virus will infect files as they are opened by any application while it is in memory. This will occur when a user scans files as well. In other words, computers users may be infected but not know about the virus until the following Dec. 25. The Kriz virus is also known as Win32/Kriz, Win32.Kriz.3862, and Win32.Kriz.3740.

KVM - Keyboard Mouse Video Switch:

  • A Keyboard, Video, Mouse (KVM) switch allows a single keyboard, video display monitor, and mouse to be switched to any of a number of computers when typically a single person interacts with all the computers but only one at a time. The switch provides more table space in addition to saving the cost of multiple keyboards and monitors. KVM switches are commonly used at Web and other server locations with multiple computers but usually a single administrator or Webmaster. The switches range in price from about $200 U.S. for a system in which up to eight computers can be daisy-chained to about $2,000 for a switch that controls up to 10 Sun workstations. Larger configurations can cost more.


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