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Introduction to Operating Systems

A computer system has many resources (hardware and software), which may be required to complete a task. The commonly required resources are input/output devices, memory, file storage space, CPU, etc. The operating system acts as a manager of the above resources and allocates them to specific programs and users, whenever necessary to perform a particular task. Therefore the operating system is the resource manager i.e. it can manage the resource of a computer system internally. The resources are processor, memory, files, and I/O devices. In simple terms, an operating system is an interface between the computer user and the machine.

It is very important for you that every computer must have an operating system in order to run other programs. The operating system mainly coordinates the use of the hardware among the various system programs and application programs for various users.

An operating system acts similarly like government means an operating system performs no useful function by itself; though it provides an environment within which other programs can do useful work.

Below we have an abstract view of the components of the computer system:

components of computer

In the above picture:

  • The Computer Hardware contains a central processing unit(CPU), the memory, and the input/output (I/O) devices and it provides the basic computing resources for the system.

  • The Application programs like spreadsheets, Web browsers, word processors, etc. are used to define the ways in which these resources are used to solve the computing problems of the users. And the System program mainly consists of compilers, loaders, editors, OS, etc.

  • The Operating System is mainly used to control the hardware and coordinate its use among the various application programs for the different users.

  • Basically, Computer System mainly consists of hardware, software, and data.

OS is mainly designed in order to serve two basic purposes:

  1. The operating system mainly controls the allocation and use of the computing System’s resources among the various user and tasks.

  2. It mainly provides an interface between the computer hardware and the programmer that simplifies and makes feasible for coding, creation of application programs and debugging

Two Views of Operating System

  1. User's View

  2. System View

Operating System: User View

The user view of the computer refers to the interface being used. Such systems are designed for one user to monopolize its resources, to maximize the work that the user is performing. In these cases, the operating system is designed mostly for ease of use, with some attention paid to performance, and none paid to resource utilization.

Operating System: System View

The operating system can be viewed as a resource allocator also. A computer system consists of many resources like - hardware and software - that must be managed efficiently. The operating system acts as the manager of the resources, decides between conflicting requests, controls the execution of programs, etc.

Operating System Management Tasks

  1. Process management which involves putting the tasks into order and pairing them into manageable size before they go to the CPU.

  2. Memory management which coordinates data to and from RAM (random-access memory) and determines the necessity for virtual memory.

  3. Device management provides an interface between connected devices.

  4. Storage management which directs permanent data storage.

  5. An application that allows standard communication between software and your computer.

  6. The user interface allows you to communicate with your computer.

Types of Operating System

Given below are different types of Operating System:

  1. Simple Batch System

  2. Multiprogramming Batch System

  3. Multiprocessor System

  4. Desktop System

  5. Distributed Operating System

  6. Clustered System

  7. Realtime Operating System

  8. Handheld System

Functions of Operating System

  1. It boots the computer

  2. It performs basic computer tasks e.g. managing the various peripheral devices e.g. mouse, keyboard

  3. It provides a user interface, e.g. command line, graphical user interface (GUI)

  4. It handles system resources such as the computer's memory and sharing of the central processing unit(CPU) time by various applications or peripheral devices.

  5. It provides file management which refers to the way that the operating system manipulates, stores, retrieves, and saves data.

  6. Error Handling is done by the operating system. It takes preventive measures whenever required to avoid errors.

Advantages of Operating System

Given below are some advantages of the Operating System:

  • The operating system helps to improve the efficiency of the work and helps to save a lot of time by reducing the complexity.

  • The different components of a system are independent of each other, thus failure of one component does not affect the functioning of another.

  • The operating system mainly acts as an interface between the hardware and the software.

  • Users can easily access the hardware without writing large programs.

  • With the help of an Operating system, sharing data becomes easier with a large number of users.

  • We can easily install any game or application on the Operating system easily and can run them

  • An operating system can be refreshed easily from time to time without having any problems.

  • An operating system can be updated easily.

  • There are various operating systems that are accessible in open source. Example: Unix/Linux these can easily run on the personal computer with no cost that means Free.

  • An operating system is mainly used to hide the complexity of the hardware.

  • AN operating system easily manages the computer as programming becomes easier.

  • With the help of an operating system, multitasking becomes easier.

Disadvantages of an Operating system

Given below are the drawbacks of using an operating system:

  • Expensive
    There are some open-source platforms like Linux. But some operating systems are expensive. Also, users can use free operating systems but generally, there is a bit difficulty to run them than others. On the other hand, operating systems like Microsoft Windows having GUI functionality and other in-built features are very expensive.

  • Virus Threat
    Operating Systems are open to virus attacks and sometimes it happens that many users download the malicious software packages on their system which pauses the functioning of the Operating system and also slows it down.

  • Complexity
    Some operating systems are complex in nature because the language used to establish them is not clear and well defined. If there occurs an issue in the operating system then the user becomes unable to resolve that issue.

  • System Failure
    An operating system is the heart of the computer system if due to any reason it will stop functioning then the whole system will crashes.

Examples of Operating System

  • Windows

  • Android

  • iOS

  • Mac OS

  • Linux

  • Window Phone OS

  • Chrome OS