What Are Operating Systems?

An operating system simply refers to a type of software that acts as an interface between the computer hardware and the end user. In order for a computer to function it needs to have an operating system. This is an environment or a platform that will enable applications such as MS word, chrome and games run and perform various tasks. The greatest advantage with the operating system is that it allows the user to communicate with computer without necessarily having to understand the computer language. It is never possible to use a computer or mobile device without the presence of an operating system.

Examples of operating systems

There are different types of operating systems available in the market today. There are operating systems that are specifically designed for computers while there are operating systems that are specifically designed for mobile phones. Some of the examples of operating systems include Windows, Android, iOS, Mac OS, Linus, Ubuntu, Chrome OS and windows phone OS.

Windows operating system is the mother of all operating systems. It was released in 1985 and is available in several versions. It is user friendly and is responsible for the development of personal computing. Mac OS was developed specifically for Apple products and its line of computers. Unix is a multi-user operating system that was developed during the 1970s and is one of the first operating systems to be written in c language. The operating system is very popular due to its adaptability and flexibility. Linux operating system was designed specifically to provide users with a free and low-cost alternative to personal computing. Linux has the reputation of being very efficient and fast.


The first operating system was developed back in 1950s to manage tape storage. General motors were the first company to implement OS in their early 1950s for their IBM 701. The technology behind operating systems have been developing over time where operating systems started to use disks in themed 1960s.by the late 1960s the first version of Unix OS was developed. DOS was the first operating system to be developed by Microsoft and it was built back in 1981. The present OS windows came to existence back in 1985 and was paired with MS-DOS.

Functions of an operating system

An operating system performs different types of services for an application. In the case of multitasking where different programs have to run at the same time the operating system determines the kind of applications that should run and the amount of time that each application is given before moving to another application. The operating system manages the sharing of internal operations among several applications. It alerts the interactive user regarding the status of each application as well as any errors that might have occurred. It also handles input and output from attached hardware devices like printers, hard disks and dial-up ports. As for computers that are able to provide parallel processing, the operating system simply manages the way in which the programs run from one processor to another.

Other functions of a computer include the security modules which protect the data and information of a computer against malware and authorized access. They also have a command interpretation module which interprets and process commands given by the system resources. Operating systems also participate in resource management where the OS creates and deletes processes as well as provide mechanism for synchronization and communication of processes.

Types of operating systems

Mobile operating systems allow smartphones, tablets, PCs and other mobile devices to run applications and programs. Common examples of mobile operating systems include Apple iOS, blackberry OS, Google Android and Windows 10 mobile. An operating system that is embedded is designed for use in computers with larger systems such as traffic lights, cars ATMs, point of sale terminal, elevators, digital cameras, airplane controls, digital media receivers, GPS navigation systems, smart meters and digital televisions.

Network operating systems are computer systems that are designed to primarily support personal computers, workstation and is certain cases old terminals that are connected to a local area network. Real time operating system guarantees that certain capabilities within a specified time constraint is met for instance, an operating system can be developed so as to ensure that certain objects are available for a robot during assembly.


The central component of an operating system is called a kernel. The main job of a kernel is to manage communication between hardware and software. The kernel forms the nucleus of a computer and makes communication between the software and hardware possible. The innermost part of an operating system is the kernel while the shell forms the outer part. The kennel features process synchronization, low level scheduling of processes, context switching as well as inter-process communication.

Types of kernels

There are several types of kernels available in the market today one of them being monolithic kernel. Monolithic kernel refers to a single block or code of program that performs the required services that is offered by an operating system. It has a simplistic design that creates a distinction between communication layers of hardware and software. Microkernel on the other hand manages all the system resources. Through this type of kernel, the services are implemented through different address space. The services of the user are stored in an address space so that it helps to reduce the size of the kernel and operating system.

Advantages of operating system

There are a lot of advantages that are associated with an operating system. Some of the greatest advantages include being able to hide details of hardware by creating an abstraction. It also gives one the ease and privilege of using the graphical user interface. The operating system basically provides a platform where applications and programs run smoothly and efficiently. It acts as an intermediary between applications and hardware components. The operating system also provides the user with resources that are easy to use which can be describe as an intermediary between the hardware and software system.

Benefits of Linux

Operating system can be defined as the interface between hardware and software. It provides different services for applications and also manages the computer hardware. Linux is also an operating system similar to Windows and Mac. Previously, Linux has been just an operating system, but now it is a popular platform to run computers, servers and embedded systems. Linux has many distribution and variations as it is a modular design. Linux schedules processes or applications, manages peripheral devices, handles file service systems services and network access. Linux has many advantages and in this article I will discuss about the different benefits of Linux.

Open Source and Security

Open source is one of the main advantages of Linux i.e. the source code of Linux is easily available for every user. Any person who is capable of coding can modify, enhance, distribute and contribute the code to any person and for any required purpose. The security in Linux is very high compared to other operating systems like windows. Every program, whether it is a virus or an application needs authorization from the administrator in a form of password. Until the password is typed the application or the virus will not execute. In Linux anti- virus is not required. Even with this facility Linux is not completely secured due to some malware present in it.

Software Updates and Customization

In Linux a user faces a huge number of software updates. The software updates in Linux are much faster compared to any other operating system. The updates can be done easily without much difficulty or problems. Customization is a special feature that makes Linux different and more popular among all the operating systems. In Linux the user can customize any given feature; user can delete or add any feature according to his or her requirements. Various attractive themes and wallpaper can be downloaded and installed which gives an amazing look to the operating system.

Free to Use

Linux is available free of cost on internet from where a person can download and use it. The users are not required to buy any license, many of the software comes with the General Public License (GNU). This is the major advantage of Linux over Windows, as in windows the users have to buy the license which is expensive.


Linux offers a high reliability and stability and reliability to the user; this operating system does not have to be rebooted in regular intervals as the Linux system is very smooth and it rarely freezes or slows down. In windows a person has to reboot the system after uninstalling or installing any software update.

Privacy and Performance

Linux provides proper security and privacy of the user’s data because it does not collect much data from a user while using the distributions. Linux offers high performance on different workstations and networks. It allows a huge number of users to communicate and work together or simultaneously and can also handle them efficiently.

Flexibility and Compatibility

Linux offers a wide range of wide range of flexibility to the user as the user can install different components; he or she does not have to install the entire suite. The user can keep the Linux file under several partitions so by any chance if one file corrupts then it can be recovered, hence the user does not have to face a huge loss. Later the user can also recover that corrupt file with the help of some tools. Linux can run and execute all kinds of file formats and is also compatible with various types of file formats.

Fast and easy Installation

Linux can be easily installed from the internet and it does not require any kind of prerequisites. Linux can run on any provided hardware that is available even on the old models.


Linux can be described as a multi- tasking operating system. The operating system can perform a great number of tasks together without any decrease in the working speed, e.g., like downloading or installing a large file will not make the entire system slow.

Network support

Linux provides support for functionality as it is written by different programmers in the internet. It also helps the user to setup server systems and client on the computer easily.

Most Common Mobile Operating Systems

A mobile operating system is a system that is specifically made to operate the handheld devices. These include the mobile phones (both ordinary feature phones as well as smart phones), PDAs, tablets, laptop and other handheld devices.

According to authentic sources and ratings made with the help of data analysis the mobile operating system are in the hands of few operating systems. This means that only a few mobile operating systems control the entire spectrum of OS activities. It has also been seen that among the top best OS (Operating Systems) the iOS and Android rules over the rest as the most widely used operating system in the world and has since been increasing the number of customers and devices into its fold consistently.

Mobile Systems similar to Computer Systems

What you often find in computer systems the same concept has been made into the mobile system. In fact, you perhaps know of Linux or Windows which is essentially is a software platform built on powerful algorithms that offers space to other programs to run on it. Similar is the case with mobile operating system that pre-determines the features and functions on your devices such that you often find both proprietary as well as open systems.

In other words, the mobile OS will determine as to which third party applications could be permitted to be used on your mobile device. This allows for even quite complex application software including manufacturing software, accounting programs, and other complicated process software.

You will find that the most popular OS are the Android and the iOS systems. The Android is a Google’s open system and is applicable to most devices across the world today. The OS has been developed with dessert like names such as Cupcakes, Gingerbread, Honeycomb, Éclairs and Ice-cream Sandwiches.

The iOS on the other hand is particularly made to operate in all the several Apple devices and this includes the iPhone, iPad, Pod Touch, iPad 2 and others. This means other devices or competing platforms are not permitted to run their software on these devices.

Other OS Platforms

You have Samsung Electronics Bada which is a good proprietary platform, but it too operates for all the Samsung mobile devices only. This means that the platform would not divulge specifications to other software. It has some great features like multi-point touch, 3D graphics and other installations and downloads.

The BlackBerry OS is yet another proprietary OS platform that caters to all BlackBerry mobile devices. This OS has been a hot favorite for corporate users and is synchronized with Microsoft Exchange, Lotus Domino and Novell Group Wise. For business people this is one of the most satisfying platforms.

You may also find the joint open source OS which is product of merger between Nokia and Intel. It is commonly known as MeeGo OS. It is an open source technology and can be seen on several devices.

The other important OS is the Palm OS which is proprietary and caters to all Palm devices. A little far from the usual is the Symbian OS from Nokia that cater to users that require high-end communication level and personal information functionality.

There are also others, but above are the world’s most trending.