The operating system is the foundation of every computer or mobile device when it comes to software. This is due to the fact that it must exist before other programs may be executed.
An operating system, as its name indicates, is essentially the mechanism that makes it possible for devices to function properly in a computer or mobile device.
The phrase “operating system” was largely used to refer to a computer operating system in the early days of computers.
Smart gadgets now have the potential to manage nearly as much as a computer can do thanks to advancements in mobile phone technology. These portable gadgets each have a unique operating system.
The primary function of an operating system is to manage the hardware and software resources of the device. In addition, the operating system offers the common functions required for installed applications to function.
It serves as a bridge between the hardware and any software running on the computer or mobile device.
Operating systems assist in handling user inputs, transferring output to output devices, maintaining storage areas, and controlling peripheral devices, among other tasks.
Consider the use of computer resources as a busy junction to get a better understanding of operating systems. If there are no traffic signals at the crossroads, things may get quite chaotic.
An OS aids in ensuring that various users and applications have efficient access to the available computer resources, much as the lights do.
Every application will need a way to manage every piece of hardware and software on the machine without an operating system.
As a result, it will require a way to take user inputs from keyboards and mouse, print documents, read from and write to storage devices, monitor time, transmit output to the screen, and even interact across a network.
Every single application would become incredibly lengthy and hefty as a result of this.
Table of Contents
What is an operating system?
An operating system is a piece of software that governs how applications are run on computers by serving as an interface between the user and the hardware.
How Operating Systems Work
It’s comforting to feel in control when you switch on your computer. You can slide the dependable mouse anywhere on the screen to launch your music collection or web browser at the drop of a hat.
Although it’s simple to assume the role of a director when sitting in front of your desktop or laptop, there’s really a lot going on inside, and the operating system is the real person executing the essential chores.
Most of the computers we use for work or for personal purposes run Microsoft Windows. Macintosh machines already have macOS installed. Linux and UNIX operating systems are used for servers that host
digital material, but various versions or distros have gained popularity for general usage. Whatever you decide, you won’t do anything without an operating system.
There are operating systems for other devices. As of the 2020s, Google’s Android and Apple’s iOS are the two most popular smartphone operating systems, however several manufacturers have created their own, often based on the Android platform.
Apple offers tvOS for Apple TV, watchOS for Apple watches, and iPadOS for tablets.
There are also a wide variety of additional devices with their own operating systems, including smart TVs, Internet of Things devices, and systems that control in-car entertainment systems.
And that’s not even taking into account the intricate systems required for self-driving automobiles.
An operating system’s role is to manage hardware and software components such that the device it resides in operates in a flexible yet predictable manner.
In this article, we’ll explain what a piece of software must do in order to be referred to be an operating system, demonstrate how your desktop computer’s operating system functions, and provide you with some instances of how to take control of other operating systems around you.
Types of operating system
Operating systems have developed through time since the creation of the first one to support more complex functions. Let’s examine some of the most popular kinds of operating systems now in use.
1. Batch Operating System
According to this OS, the user will prepare the task and provide it to a computer operator in the form of a tool resembling a punch card.
To guarantee a quicker processing time, the computer operator would then combine the tasks based on their computing needs and execute them in batches.
It works well for applications that need lengthy computing durations and little human input, such statistical analysis of huge data sets.
These operating systems have a number of issues, such as a lack of contact between the user and the computing activity, a challenge in assigning jobs a priority based on their urgency, lengthy turnaround times, and a high CPU idle time brought on by the slow mechanical input and output devices.
2. Multiprogramming Operating System
An operating system that supports executing numerous programs simultaneously is known as a multiprogramming operating system, as the name indicates.
In multiprogramming operating systems, increasing resource efficiency and system throughput is the key goal. This is accomplished by setting up the computing tasks such that there is always a task for the CPU to work on at any given moment.
Because they provide the simultaneous operation of two or more processes, these operating systems are commonly referred to as multitasking OSs.
This indicates that information from two or more processes may be kept in the main memory at once.
Watch this excellent but dated operating systems tutorial series where the Apple operating system is discussed. Awesome thing!
3. Time-Sharing Operating System
This particular kind of multiprogramming operating system is distinct. It permits the parallel operation of many tasks, much like the standard multiprogramming operating system.
But this stands out since it was created to support numerous users. In other words, numerous users are able to use the same computer resources.
This operating system’s biggest feature is that these users won’t have to wait in line to access these resources.
Despite the fact that there is only one computer being used by a number of users, each user has the sense that she is using her own. This is made possible by the CPU’s frequent task switching, which guarantees quick reaction times.
This operating system prevents program duplication while ensuring that CPU idle time is kept to a minimum.
However, when numerous users are using or updating the same applications and data, data transmission may become a challenge. Reliability may therefore be a challenge.
4. Distributed Operating Systems
The presence of numerous central processors makes distributed operating systems distinct from other types. Several users and numerous real-time applications are supported by these CPUs.
To put it another way, these operating systems combine many computer systems to work as a single computer.
When computer networks were created to enable independent computers to connect with one another, several operating systems began to be used.
Sharing resources was made possible, and data interchange between locations was significantly expanded. Additionally, distributed operating systems make sure that the host computer is not overworked even while intensive computation is being done.
5. Network Operating System
This operating system, as its name indicates, operates on a server and gives networked PCs access to computational resources. On the server, users, data, applications, and security are managed.
This operating system enables networked computers to share files and printers. More stability and security are provided by this operating system. But for small enterprises, the price of purchasing and maintaining a server may sometimes be rather significant.
6. Real-Time Operating Systems
It is crucial for these operating systems that inputs be received and processed as quickly as possible. The operating system must thus ensure that the events will be handled within a certain amount of time.
Some of these systems may support multitasking, but they do so using unique scheduling algorithms that make sure jobs are switched based on priority so that each task’s deadline is fulfilled.
Air traffic control systems, medical imaging systems, missile control systems, industrial control systems, and scientific investigations are a few examples of applications for real-time operating systems.
Real-time operating systems may be divided into two categories. The first kind is known as a “hard real-time operating system,” and it will ensure that crucial tasks are executed within a certain time frame.
The second kind is referred to as a “soft real-time operating system,” which prioritizes work without ensuring that it will be finished in a certain period of time. But the most important duty will be finished before anything else.
Which OS is best?
Today, a wide variety of operating systems are in use. For their clients, several tech behemoths have created operating systems, and each one has advantages and drawbacks depending on the application.
Because of this, some of them are more well-known than others. Let’s examine five of the most widely used operating systems for computers and smartphones.
Best operating systems for computer
Each computer operating system has a devoted following of users who fervently believe that no other operating system can compare. However, when it comes to computer market share, the next five were constantly scored well.
The Windows operating system has been used by a sizable portion of computer users. Microsoft creates Windows operating system.
Currently, Windows 10 is installed on more than 350 million devices, and the firm expects to reach 1 billion by 2018. More than 1.25 billion machines worldwide were using a Windows operating system as of 2011.
This is hardly surprising given that Windows operating systems have had a market share of over 90% up until recently. Although Windows 7 is still widely used, its usage is decreasing as a result of Windows 10’s rising popularity.
The most recent version of Windows is currently Windows 11. Windows 10, Windows 8.1, Windows 8, Windows 7, Windows Vista, Windows XP, and Windows 2000 are some of the older versions.
The success of the Microsoft Office Suite, which has more than 1.2 billion active users as of this writing, maybe largely credited to the popularity of Windows operating systems. It is offered in 107 languages and 140 countries.
Windows devices vary from inexpensive entry-level models costing a few hundred dollars to pricy high-performance gaming computers, and they provide the broadest interoperability with hardware and software.
There are drawbacks to these OSs. Windows PCs are not constructed with the same level of care as Macs. This is shown by the greater build quality of Macs’ hardware, including their improved trackpads and screens.
The prevalence of viruses is another drawback. Windows PCs are a favorite among thieves due to their prevalence, hence the majority of malware is created for the operating system.
This indicates that, in comparison to other operating systems, using a Windows PC leaves you more open to attack.
2. Mac OS
For Apple computers, Apple Inc. created this operating system. All Macintosh machines already have it installed. The first Mac operating system, Mac OS, has since been superseded by Mac OS X.
From 1984 until 1999 when Apple introduced Mac OS X Server 1.0, their server-focused operating system, Mac OS had served as the company’s main operating system.
Soon after, Apple produced a desktop OS X version that came pre-installed on Macs manufactured in 2001.
Before OS X 10.7, sometimes referred to as “Lion,” Apple had separate server and client versions of OS X. All OS X 10.7 and subsequent releases combined these two editions.
The clarity and precision of Mac OS and OS X are two of their distinguishing qualities. It functions exactly like the desktop operating system for which it was designed.
In light of this, none of the issues brought on by Windows 8’s “Metro” design are inescapable.
It’s difficult not to appreciate this OS because of the well-designed UI. It’s difficult not to love using computers since they have been well designed.
They have a great battery life, a simple touchpad, and hardware that is often above average. For the majority of users, modern MacBooks will easily surpass even the most expensive ultrabooks.
This OS does, however, have several drawbacks. Cost is the first and most evident factor. You must buy an Apple computer in order to utilize the OS since it only functions on Apple devices.
These computers are regrettably not accessible to those with low or middle incomes.
If your spending limit is less than $500, forget about having a Mac unless you’re willing to buy a used, refurbished one that may or might not perform as planned.
The program has another drawback. Although the bulk of essential office and professional creative programs, such as the Microsoft Office Suite and Adobe Creative Suite, are accessible on this platform, it still pales in comparison to the millions of programs that Windows users have access to.
Fortunately, this OS is becoming better and more useful when compared to earlier versions because to the rising popularity of web-based applications.
However, you will need to make concessions in terms of games since this platform is still quite behind.
Linux is an operating system designed for individuals who are tech-savvy and familiar with computer hardware and applications.
There are several companies that sell Linux laptops, but if you want, you may download the OS for free and install it on another computer.
However, there is no assurance that all of your gear will function as planned if you decide to do the installation yourself.
Developers and Geeks that choose a UNIX-based operating system are fans of Linus operating systems.
It’s still quite difficult to suggest a computer operating on this platform to someone who isn’t actively seeking for the Linux platform, however, the development of web-based applications has significantly helped make Linux more useable and functional for normal people, similar to Macs.
4. Chrome OS
This operating system mainly depends on Google’s Chrome web browser, as the name would imply.
Although it features a variety of desktop programs, the Chrome browser does the majority of work on this operating system, which is included in all Chromebooks.
This implies that in order to increase functionality, you will need to locate a Chrome app for the task at hand.
There are hundreds of Chrome applications available that should let you accomplish practically everything you want to do despite the fact that you cannot run Windows or Mac desktop programs on this platform.
You must first put your Chromebook in developer mode if you want to run Linux desktop applications.
There are advantages despite these difficulties. One of them is how inexpensive Chromebooks are. They are fairly simple to operate and cost between $200 and $300 for a decent one.
The advantage of not having to worry about viruses, like with Windows machines, is another perk.
If you can do all of your job using the Chrome browser, this OS is the best option. You won’t have to spend a lot to obtain a straightforward UI.
Let’s include Android here even if it is more often associated with smartphones due to the prevalence of convertible tablets.
A notable example is the Asus Transformer devices, which have a keyboard attached and can be used as full Android laptops in addition to being tablets.
Although Android is a highly capable operating system for smartphones, most people won’t like using it for PCs. The majority of people don’t really want a laptop’s user interface on their PC.
You won’t be able to use windowed desktop applications since you will only be able to use mobile apps. The browser is also available as a mobile app, however, it is less user-friendly than a desktop browser.
However, if flexibility and movement are what you want, this will suit you. As opposed to typing on your tablet’s screen, the keyboard will make typing simpler and quicker.
Best operating systems for smartphones
Similar to PC operating systems, smartphone operating systems have devoted supporters who can list hundreds of reasons why their OS is the greatest. Let’s look at five of the most widely used operating systems for smartphones right now.
1. Google Android
The Android smartphone operating system is made by Google and is based on the Linux kernel. With a market share of more than 80% globally, Android is easily the most popular mobile operating system in the world.
It is a favorite for many in the smartphone sector, but being unpopular in the computer world. Users have many customization options because to its simplicity of usage.
The enormous number of app developers is another factor in the success of the Android operating system. This guarantees that customers will always have an app as a solution to any issues they may encounter.
Because there are few limits on the platform, application developers may do considerably more. This explains why consumers have access to millions of applications on the Android Play Store.
The availability of this OS to multiple smartphone manufacturers has elevated its appeal on a worldwide scale.
Additionally, it makes it more accessible to a larger population since even those with little funds may locate Android devices to purchase.
2. Apple iOS
Apple iOS The operating system is not accessible on devices made by other manufacturers, much as it is with Mac OS.
This implies that the quality of the products delivered to the market is substantially greater since the corporation is able to monitor their quality.
The iPad, iPhone, Apple TV, and iPod all use this operating system, which supports multiple tasks.
On smartphones, it boasts the second-largest user base in the world. iOS users have access to millions of apps from the Apple App Store when it comes to software.
A substantial portion of the developers in this community are also consistently adding applications to the ones that are currently available in the store.
The fundamental obstacle that this operating system faces is the same one that the Mac OS faces. You will need to possess an Apple device if you want to utilize the OS, which is exclusively accessible on such devices.
Unfortunately, it seems that the firm exclusively caters to the high-end market, thus customers on a tight budget won’t be able to acquire these gadgets.
3. Windows Mobile
Windows Mobile, formerly known as Windows Phone, comes in third place among the most widely used mobile operating systems.
Microsoft created it, and thus far six versions have been made available. This OS has used an interface similar to Windows 8 Metro since its debut in February 2010
Despite the widespread use of the Windows OS on desktops, Microsoft has not fared as well in the smartphone market. Many people still choose Android or iOS, even those who use Windows desktops.
This operating system’s key benefits are simplicity of use and a visually attractive animation interface. Additionally, it doesn’t use a lot of RAM, therefore it allows for the seamless operation of demanding apps.
The Windows Store has a lot fewer apps than the Android Play Store and the Apple App Store, which is a major drawback for this OS.
This platform has not gained the same popularity among developers as the other two app marketplaces. However, users continue to have access to a respectable number of programs, and this number is gradually increasing.
4. Blackberry OS
RIM (Research In Motion), the company that makes Blackberry handsets, is the owner of this OS. This was one of the first smartphone operating systems, but Windows Mobile, Android, and iOS rapidly surpassed it.
Despite this, it still has a strong hold on the worldwide market, and many early adopters have opted to continue with it.
Over the last 20 years, this OS has seen a fair share of difficulties. Nevertheless, it continues to rank in the top 5 most widely used operating systems for smartphones.
Because it is favored for corporate applications, it has managed to survive in the face of fierce competition from Apple and Android.
Many of the operating system’s current users were among its ardent followers when it was one of the world’s most popular smartphone platforms.
5. Firefox OS
Mozilla, the company that created the well-known Firefox browser, has created an open source operating system called Firefox OS.
The company’s ambition to increase competition on the open web and challenge the dominance of single suppliers served as the primary driving force for the creation of this operating system.
Functions of an Operating System
Speaking of OS features, have you ever wondered how the computer controls certain operations, how various activities are handled, or even carried out?
These are all tasks that the OS handles, so if you’ve ever wondered about them, you’ll find the answers in here part. Let’s discuss more about them below:
1. Memory Management
The OS is responsible for controlling the computer’s memory.
It is reasonable to say that the OS makes sure that each application is given adequate memory to carry out its operation by keeping track of the memory utilized by a certain program with the aid of the CPU.
2. Process Management
Process scheduling, which is the OS’s responsibility, determines the sequence in which processes will run. Algorithms are used to enable process management.
Other duties in this category include maintaining a process state and guaranteeing that each process has adequate time to complete its tasks.
3. Device Management
It keeps track of all the input and output devices attached to your device. Its major job is to make sure that all the linked devices are assigned appropriately and work.
It determines who has access to a certain device and for how long.
4. File Management
As is common knowledge, systems do hold many and substantial amounts of data.
The OS is responsible for keeping track of all this data, including their location, accessibility permissions, storage location, and file status. Additionally, it controls the deletion of files.
5. Job Scheduling
The operating system decides which jobs or tasks should be handled first and makes sure that they are finished. The task that has the greatest importance is often carried out first.
It also records the amount of time and resources consumed by different users and tasks.
6. Error Detection & Response
When a computer is operating, we are likely to come across a variety of problems. The OS enables the machine to notify or display these faults for you.
A response from the OS gives assistance by directing you as to what to do next.
Advantages and Disadvantages of OS
It is clear at this moment that OS is important to our daily lives. Your phone, your laptop, or the PC back at the office are all within our reach.
There will always be new versions published since each of the many varieties we have has advantages and disadvantages. Let’s examine some of the advantages and disadvantages of an OS.
Advantages of operating systems
1. Resource Sharing
The possibility to share resources with other users through services like printers, fax machines, across the network, etc. is provided by resource-sharing operating systems.
Among the resources that are most often exchanged are files, documents, movies, photos, and applications.
A computer’s operating system must ensure that all the data is safe given the volume of data kept there.
Microsoft’s Windows Defender is a fantastic example of an operating system that actively protects user data; it finds dangerous and destructive files and either eliminate them or forbids their installation.
3. User Friendly
Comparatively speaking, a GUI interface is far more user-friendly than a command line interface. They are made clear by the many icons, buttons, menus, and other graphical elements that are included.
Users may readily engage with the system and communicate with it as a consequence.
Users may carry out many tasks at once by using an operating system. One window does not need to be closed in order to open another.
Disadvantages of operating system
Most operating systems are seen as being pricey unless they are open-source operating systems like Linux and its distros.
Despite the fact that consumers may choose free versions of products, they usually offer little functionality.
2. Virus Attacks
The potential of viruses is always greater with an operating system, just as it is with any other program out there.
Users may unwittingly access harmful websites, download malicious software, or accept email attachments that contain viruses, leaving their computers susceptible to infection.
The OS’s development languages are more difficult for anyone without programming experience to understand.
Therefore, you can’t always fix OS issues fast by searching; instead, you’ll need to hunt for a specialist’s assistance, which raises maintenance costs.
4. system malfunction
The operating system is the brains of the computer system, and if it malfunctions for any reason, the system as a whole will collapse. i.e., your computer cannot operate at all without an OS.
Methods for Selecting an Operating System
Knowing what to look for when selecting an OS can significantly affect how you use computers every day. Always shop with your budget in mind as well as the characteristics you are looking for; this also relies on your job.
Consider the following frequent actors:
Every OS has something fresh to offer, particularly for novices. Make sure the OS you select is simpler to understand and easy for you to adjust to.
With operating systems like Windows being more user-friendly, Linux and its variants have historically been seen as being less user-friendly.
2. Compatibility with software
Make careful to choose an OS that permits the installation of the programs you now use or want to use.
An excellent example is the fact that Windows systems support a large range of commercial software, in contrast to Mac systems, which only support applications from their own library.
3. Configuration of the hardware
You should ensure that you have access to the software you use to offer services. You only need the software to assist you in providing your services.
Select an operating system that offers complete support and updates along with all the features you need.
4. Cost & Assistance
You must confirm that the pricing range is within your means. Mac often costs more than the majority of the competition.
You may find an OS that is less expensive or even free that successfully fulfills all of your requirements.
An OS is subject to assaults since it is exactly like any other piece of software, as was mentioned in the drawbacks section.
Make careful you choose an OS with robust security protections. Due to its large market penetration, Windows is often seen to be more susceptible, while Linux distributions are thought to be less vulnerable.
If you’re still curious about the public’s opinion on the long-running argument over which operating system is ideal for developers, you should know that Windows has consistently topped polls and surveys undertaken by various groups.