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Operating Systems: Overview Essay

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Operating Systems Many people use computers without knowing how does it works. The main software when using the computer is the operating system. The operating system defines all the experience when using a computer it manages the hardware and software resources of the computer system, provides a way for applications to deal with the hardware without having to know all the details of the hardware, and it is the software that makes all the programs we use work, and it organizes and controls the hardware on our computers. Operating systems is the first software we see when we turn on the computer, and the last software we see when the computer is turned off. It's important to know and understand that not all computers have operating systems. For example the computer that controls the microwave oven in your kitchen doesn't need an operating system, it has only simple tasks to perform, very simple input and output methods (a keypad and an LCD screen). For a computer like this, an operating system would not be needed; it will only add things that are not required. ...read more.


The operating system must make sure that the requirements of the various users are balanced, and that each of the programs they are using has sufficient and separate resources so that a problem with one user doesn't affect the entire community of users. Unix, VMS, and mainframe operating systems, such as MVS, are examples of multi-user operating systems. * Real-time operating system (RTOS): Real-time operating systems are used to control machinery, scientific instruments and industrial systems. An RTOS typically has very little user-interface capability, and no end-user utilities, since the system will be a "sealed box" when delivered for use. A very important part of an RTOS is managing the resources of the computer so that a particular operation executes in precisely the same amount of time every time it occurs. In a complex machine, having a part move more quickly just because system resources are available may be just as catastrophic as having it not move at all because the system is busy. The operating system's tasks, in the most general sense, fall into six categories: * Processor management: The heart of managing the processor is related to two things first ensuring that each process and application receives enough of the processor's time to function properly, and using as many processor cycles for real work as is possible. ...read more.


There are other user interfaces, some graphical and some not, for other operating systems. While there are some who argue that an operating system should do more than these six tasks, and some operating-system vendors do build many more utility programs and auxiliary functions into their operating systems, these six tasks define the core of nearly all operating systems. One question concerning the future of operating systems revolves around the ability of a particular philosophy of software distribution to create an operating system useable by corporations and consumers together. Linux, the operating system created and distributed according to the principles of open source, could have a significant impact on the operating system in general. Most operating systems, drivers and utility programs are written by commercial organizations that distribute executable versions of their software -- versions that can't be studied or altered. Open source requires the distribution of original source materials that can be studied, altered and built upon, with the results once again freely distributed. The continuing growth of the Internet and the proliferation of computers that aren't standard desktop or laptop machines means that operating systems will change to keep pace, but the core management and interface functions will continue, even as they evolve. Ahmed Mahdi Ahmed 292 Computer U-T ...read more.

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