Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Operating System

An operating system, or OS, is a software program that enables the computer hardware to communicate and operate with the computer software. Without a computer operating system, a computer would be useless OR an operating system (sometimes abbreviated as "OS") is the program that, after being initially loaded into the computer by a boot program, manages all the other programs in a computer. The other programs are called applications or application programs. The application programs make use of the operating system by making requests for services through a defined application program interface (API). In addition, users can interact directly with the operating system through a user interface such as a command language or a graphical user interface (GUI).





An operating system performs these services for applications:

* In a multitasking operating system where multiple programs can be running at the same time, the operating system determines which applications should run in what order and how much time should be allowed for each application before giving another application a turn.
* It manages the sharing of internal memory among multiple applications.
* It handles input and output to and from attached hardware devices, such as hard disks, printers, and dial-up ports.
* It sends messages to each application or interactive user (or to a system operator) about the status of operation and any errors that may have occurred.
* It can offload the management of what are called batch jobs (for example, printing) so that the initiating application is freed from this work.
* On computers that can provide parallel processing, an operating system can manage how to divide the program so that it runs on more than one processor at a time.

Operating systems can be classified as follows:

# Multi-user : Allows two or more users to run programs at the same time. Some operating systems permit hundreds or even thousands of concurrent users.
# Multiprocessing : Supports running a program on more than one CPU.
# Multitasking : Allows more than one program to run concurrently.
# Multithreading : Allows different parts of a single program to run concurrently.
# real time: Responds to input instantly. General-purpose operating systems, such as DOS and UNIX, are not real-time.

Below are the examples of Operating System:

Linux / Variants
MacOS
MS-DOS
IBM OS/2 Warp
Unix / Variants
Windows CE
Windows 3.x
Windows 95
Windows 98
Windows 98 SE
Windows ME
Windows NT
Windows 2000
Windows XP
Windows Vista

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