An operating system is a software component of a computer system that is responsible for the management of various activities of the computer and the sharing of computer resources. It hosts the several applications that run on a computer and handles the operations of computer hardware.
Operating system enables user interaction with computer systems by acting as an interface between users or application programs and the computer hardware.
The main functions of Operating System:
1. To act as an interface between the user and the computer
2. To monitor the use of the resources of computers
3. To control and coordinate Input and Output devices
4. To manage the program and data files ( to store, to retrieve, to delete files )
5. To assist the application programs execute commands given by the user
Different Types of Operating Systems
Real-time Operating System
It is a multitasking operating system that aims at executing real-time applications. Real-time operating systems often use specialized scheduling algorithms so that they can achieve a deterministic nature of behavior. The main object of real-time operating systems is their quick and predictable response to events. They either have an event-driven or a time-sharing design. An event-driven system switches between tasks based on their priorities while time-sharing operating systems switch tasks based on clock interrupts.
Multi-User and Single-User Operating Systems
Multi-user allows multiple users to access a computer system concurrently. Time-sharing system can be classified as multi-user systems as they enable a multiple user to gain access to a computer through the sharing of time.
Single-user operating systems, is opposite to a multi-user operating system are usable by a single user at a time.
Multi-Tasking and Single-Tasking Operating Systems
A single-tasking system allows a program to run at a time, while a multi-tasking operating system allows the execution of multiple tasks at the same time.
Multi-tasking can be of two types namely, pre-emptive or co-operative. In pre-emptive multitasking, the operating system slices the CPU time and dedicates one slot to each of the programs. Co-operative multitasking is achieved by relying on each process to give time to the other processes in a defined manner.
Distributed Operating System
An operating system that manages a group of independent computers and makes them appear to be a single computer is known as a distributed operating system. The development of networked computers that could be linked and communicate with each other, gave rise to distributed computing.
The operating systems designed for being used in embedded computer systems are known as embedded operating systems. They are designed to operate on small machines like PDAs with less autonomy. They are able to operate with a limited number of resources. They are very compact and extremely efficient by design.
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