What is an operating system?

Last updated on November 12th, 2018

What is an Operating System?

Operating System is an in-built software installed in any computer or a mobile device. It manages both the hardware and software functions simultaneously to provide the desired output to the user.

Operating System Functions:

  • Management of Resources: The operating system programs which handles the printer, mouse, keyboard, memory and monitor of the computer.
  • User Interface: Graphical user interface (GUI) is developed for the better understanding of the users. It helps in the understanding to click the icon whereas each icon has its code linked to the spot which represents the icon.
  • Running Application: It runs various application by loading it in the primary memory and also many operating systems can multitask by running more than one applications at a time.
  • Built-in Utility Programs: It helps in spotting the errors in the operating system and fixing them.
  • Computer Hardware Control: It helps the programs to use the computer hardware through Basic input output system(BIOS) or the device drivers.

Types of Operating Systems :

  1. Single and multi-tasking: Single tasking system runs a single program at a time & multitasking system runs more than one program at a time concurrently. This activity is done by time sharing and dividing the time between the multiprocesses in time slices, which are interrupted multiple times by the task scheduling subsystems.
  2. Single and multi-user: In single user operating system there is no facility to differentiate the users, and it allows the multiple programs to run in a line.
  3. Distributed: A distributed operating system manages more than one computer in a group an makes it appear to be an as single computer. The computers are connected through the network and are made to communicate with each other.
  4. Templated: In templating an single virtual machine image is created as a guest operating system which is saved as a tool for running various virtual machines. Templating is used in virtualization and cloud computing and is common in big server warehouses.
  5. Embeded: Embeded operating systems are designed to use in the small machines like PDAs with less independency and are used in the embedded computer systems like Windows CE and Minix3. They have the ability to operate with a very limited number of resources and thus the design is very compact and very efficient.
  6. Real-time: In real time operating systems it gives an assurance to process the data within the specific time period. Real time operating system can be single or multi tasking and when multitasking it uses special scheduling algorithms to obtain the determined nature of the behaviour.
  7. Library: In library operating system the services such as networking are provided in the form of libraries and are composed with the application and configuration code to construct the unikernel: a single addressed space, machine image which can be deployed on a cloud or embedded systems.

Examples of Operating System :

  • Microsoft Windows version(like windows 10, windows 8, windows XP, windows Vista etc)
  • Apple’s macOS(OS X)
  • Linux
  • Blackberry tablet OS
  • Chrome OS

Overview :

An day to day development in the operating systems highly increased the efficiency of the computers and the devices. Basically, operating systems consist of inbuilt programs  which handles the computer activities. They have decreased a lot of manual work which were required to process the programs earlier. Nowadays there are a lot of highspeed operating systems which requires minimal time to process the programs and also runs many programs concurrently at a time which sets the operator completely free to get the desired output within a fraction of second.

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