TechDogs-Introduction To "Operating Systems"

Operating Systems

Introduction To Operating Systems

By TechDogs

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English, French, Mexican, Spanish and Mandarin are all examples of Human Language. In the same way, machines have a language of zeros and ones known as binary language. If you (the user) want to communicate with your computer (the machine), you need to talk in their language or need a translator. Operating System is the translator you need, to speak to your machine and they are pretty cool to learn about. This article gives you an introduction to Operating System, its history, functions, types and where it is going in the future. Need we say more? Read on already!
TechDogs-Your Windows Into "Operating Systems"
Don't you feel powerful while using a computer? A bit godly even, with a flick of your mouse you can make bad actors in a movie shut up; with some imagination and a few clickity-clackity on the keyboard, you can write an entire book; or you beat the evil Joker in Batman: Arkham City without moving an inch from your gaming chair.

Apologies for bursting your bubble but you are not the auteurs of that computer world. That title has been awarded to the great Operating System (OS), that silently takes care of everything behind the curtain. Didn't see that coming, did you?

You might have noticed that almost all desktops and laptops already have Microsoft Windows installed. Apple devices have iOS preloaded and most company servers run on Linux or UNIX. All these preloaded software are Operating Systems that run the show on the computer; in fact, your computers and PCs are nothing more than metal and fibre boxes without an Operating Systems.

Singing Praises Aside, What Exactly Is An Operating System?

In technical terms, an Operating System is a program that is pre-loaded into a computer and manages all other applications. It acts as an intermediary between a computer's hardware components (mouse, keyboard, or joystick) and the end-user (you). The central component of a computer Operating Systems, that manages the communication between the software and the computer hardware is called the kernel, fondly known as the nucleus of a computer.

TechDogs-What Exactly Is An Operating System?-"Operating System"-Nucleus Of A Computer
The OS additionally provides the environment for you to run all your computer applications (Chrome, Zoom, MS Office, Netflix, etc.) conveniently. Every computer needs at least one Operating System for it to be able to run the said application program; without it, your computer or mobile device is pretty much a child's toy.

Let's take a journey into the past and learn about the origins of Operating Systems.

History Of Operating Systems

As fascinating as its history is, here are some of the more noteworthy happenings in the Operating System's timeline.
  • The first-ever Operating System was developed in the first half 1950s by General Motors for IBM's machine, the 704 and was named GMOS (GM-NAA I/O). These computers were used only by large corporations or government agencies due to their high costs.

  • In 1961, minicomputers were introduced with DEC PDP-1 (Digital Equipment Corporation - Programmed Data Processor-1). These minicomputers became instantly famous owing to their low price.

  • By mid-1960s, Operating Systems were able to run multiple computer programs simultaneously and allowed the CPU (Central Processing Unit) to be busy nearly 100 percent of its operation time.

  • The Unix Operating System was developed and launched in the late 1960s. Twenty years later, Lex Murphy in Jurassic Park saves the world from savage dinosaurs because she realized It's a Unix System! Gasp!

  • In 1975 Bill Gates and Paul Allen created the Windows Operating System.
  • In 1981, they introduced MS-DOS (Microsoft Disk Operating System) by purchasing the 86-DOS software from a Seattle company.

  • In 1984, Apple debuted the Operating System now known as the "Classic" Mac OS (Macintosh Operating System).

  • In 1985, GUI (Graphical User Interface) was created, which means that the screen looked a little livelier. The GUI was merged with MS-DOS, giving us the present-day popular Windows OS.

A lot of time has passed since the invention of the first OS; are there more than one type of Operating Systems in the world today?

You bet there are, let's talk about some of the most widely used Operating Systems.

Types Of Operating Systems

  • Like an excellent outsourced resource that gets the job done without you interacting with them directly, the Batch Operating System doesn't interact directly with the computer. Instead, every user creates their jobs offline, such as a punch card and offers it to the computer operator. The operator then groups together similar jobs with the same requirements into batches and runs them as a group to speed up the process

  • This type of Operating System allows people located at different terminals (electromechanical hardware device AKA other computers) to work on a single computer system simultaneously. The processing time of the CPU is shared between multiple users and is thus known as the time-sharing OS

  • We, humans, love instant results and a real-time Operating System caters to our all-things-now need by dramatically minimizing the time to process and respond to inputs. Military Software Systems, Space Software Systems are some examples of the real-time OS.

  • A distributed OS is a system of several processors that are independent, connected, communicating and physically separate computational nodes. These processors are placed within different machines to provide high-speed computation to their users.

  • A system that runs on a server is called a Network Operating System. This type of OS comes with the ability for data management, user management, grouping, enhanced security, etc.

  • This one is a little special; a mobile Operating System is specially designed for powering mobile devices such as smartphones, tablets and wearables gadgets. No more fights about Android being better than iOS because all of them are Mobile OS.

All this is great but what does an Operating System do? Good question.

Let’s Talk About The Functions Of Operating System

TechDogs-Functions Of "Operating System"-Process Management-Memory Management-File Management-Communication Management-Device Management-I/O System Management-Security-Command interpretation-Job Accounting  
An Operating System software performs the following functions:
  • Process Management

    An OS helps create, manage and delete processes and offers mechanisms to synchronize and enable communication between processes.

  • Memory Management

    To efficiently manage the computer functions, the OS allocates and de-allocates memory space for programs that need memory resources.

  • File Management

    The self-explanatory function of file management involves controlling all files-related tasks such as organizing file storage, finding and retrieving files and the functions of naming, sharing and protecting the files.

  • Communication Management

    The task of coordination and assignment of compilers, interpreters and other software resources for various computer systems users.

  • Device Management

    The four primary functions are monitoring every device's status, enforcing present policies to work out which process will get a device and for how long. Additionally, it allocates/ deallocates devices based on their need at the process and job levels.

  • I/O System Management

    The primary objective of an I/O System Management is to manage all Input/ Output devices such as the keyboard, mouse, printer, etc.

  • Security

    The security module of an OS is awarded the task of protecting the data on the computer against malware threats and unauthorized access.

  • Command interpretation

    One of the Operating System's jobs is to understand and execute commands entered by the user or other programs. Pretty obvious, right?

  • Job Accounting

    Did you know that your computer's OS can keep tabs on how various jobs (tasks) and users use time and resources? We certainly did!

What Is The Future Of Operating Systems?

While we can't predict the future (we are no fortune tellers here), we can talk about the possible trends in Operating Systems' future.

According to Operating System experts, the future OS will offer a higher level of modularity. The future OS will be developed so that it won't matter if you are running your programs on the local PC or a cloud application; it will be omnipresent. All you have to do is use an access point (keyboard, mouse, smartphone, TV, car or anything else). The OS will fetch the centralized data to your device, giving you a unified and personalized user-experience.

More importantly, with the advent of Artificial Intelligence and Robotics, it won't be long before AI-operated robots discuss your finances, schedule for the day, diet plan and investment portfolio over a cuppa coffee. AIOS (Artificial Intelligence Operating System) will set a new milestone and bring about a renaissance in the OS terrain.

Another path-breaking advancement will be the use of IoT (Internet of Things), which is set to revolutionize the globe - the defence sector, healthcare, digitization to make smart products, intelligent controls and in short, 'smart life' as a whole, in the literal sense of the term.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is an operating system and what does it do?

An operating system (OS) is a fundamental program installed on computers and devices that manages various applications and acts as an intermediary between hardware components and users. Essentially, it coordinates the communication between software and hardware, allowing users to interact with their devices effectively. The central component of an OS, known as the kernel, plays a pivotal role in managing this communication, often likened to the nucleus of a computer. Moreover, the OS provides an environment for running applications, ensuring that users can utilize their devices efficiently.

What are the different types of operating systems?

Operating systems come in various types, each tailored to different computing needs and environments. These include batch operating systems, which process jobs in batches to expedite tasks without direct user interaction. Time-sharing operating systems allow multiple users to work on a single computer system simultaneously, sharing the CPU's processing time. Real-time operating systems minimize processing and response times, crucial for applications requiring immediate results, such as military and space software systems. Distributed operating systems utilize multiple processors across different machines to enhance computational speed and efficiency. Network operating systems run on servers, providing functionalities like data management and security. Finally, mobile operating systems are specifically designed for powering mobile devices such as smartphones and tablets.

What functions does an operating system perform?

An operating system carries out a multitude of functions essential for managing computer resources and facilitating user interactions. These functions include process management, which involves creating, managing, and terminating processes while enabling communication between them. Memory management entails allocating and deallocating memory space efficiently to support various programs' execution. File management controls tasks related to organizing, retrieving, and protecting files stored on the system. Communication management coordinates software resources for different users and systems. Device management monitors and allocates input/output devices, ensuring their efficient utilization. Additionally, operating systems handle input/output system management, security measures against malware and unauthorized access, command interpretation, and job accounting to track resource usage across tasks and users.

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Operating Systems Batch Operating System Time-Sharing Operating System Linux Unix IOS Distributed Operating System Network Operating System Mobile Operating System Windows Desktop Operating Systems

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