OPERATING SYSTEM -MEANING, TYPES, FUNCTION

An operating system is a software that controls computer hardware and acts as an interface with the application program.

In other words, operating systems are software that serves as an interface between the user and the hardware and also controls the execution of the program.

Operating systems are computer-oriented software designed to efficiently manage computer resources.

Among the better-known operating systems are windows operating system, OS X, Linus, Android, Unix, and Mac OS.

Types of operating system

Operating systems can be divided into four broad types, namely; single-user, multi-user, real-time and embedded operating system

Single-user operating system

As the name suggests, a single-user operating system is an operating system that can be used by one user at a time.

This kind of operating system is mostly used by home computers.

Single-user operating systems can be divided into two types: single-user single-tasking and single-user multitasking operating systems.

1. Single-user single-tasking operating system: In this type of operating system, a single user is allowed to run only one program at a time.

This kind of operating system is mainly built for wireless phones. Palm OS and MS-DOS are all examples of this kind of operating system.

2. Single-user multi-tasking operating system: This kind of user allows a single user to run multiple programs at a time.

Most laptop and desktop system uses this kind of operating system. Apple Mac OS and Windows 95 are familiar examples of single-user multitasking operating systems.

Multi-user operating system

As the name suggests, this type of operating system allows multiple users to access an operating system simultaneously. 

Multi-user operating systems can handle the request of each user sufficiently and adequately. 

It ensures that resources are adequately and separately shared between users so that error/problem with one user does not affect all the community of users using the operating system

There are three types of multi-user. These are distributed operating systems, time-slicing operating systems, and multi-processor

A) Distributed operating system: In a distributed operating system, multiple central processors are used to serve multiple users and multiple real-time applications. Data processing jobs are then distributed between these processors.

Perhaps, the best-known distributed operating system is Amoeba.

B) Time-slicing operating system: Here, each user is given a slice of the CPU time. I.e a small amount of time is allocated to each task. This allows users of the mainframe system to concurrently

C) Multiprocessor: As the name suggests, this operating system utilizes multiple processors. 

This operating system improves the system because work is done by multiple processors.

Linux is a good example of this kind of software.

Real-time operating system

This is a multi-tasking system that allows data to be processed within a specific response time.

As the name suggests, a real-time operating system is used for processing real-time applications where data are processed as they come in.

This type of operating system utilized specialized scheduling algorithms so that a deterministic nature of behaviour is attained. 

Real-time operating systems can easily and quickly respond to events. The real-time operating system usually has two types of design: event-driven design and time-sharing design.

While a time-sharing design switches between tasks based on clock interrupt, an event-driven design switches between tasks based on priorities. 

It is important to note here that real-time operating systems are time-bound system which has well-defined, fixed time constraints. 

This means Data processing must be done within defined time constraints otherwise the system will fail.

Among the better-known, real-time operating system is Windows CE, and lynx OS.

Embedded operating system

This kind of operating system is designed for use in certain hardware configurations. They are designed for use in PDAs with less independence. 

Hardware that utilizes embedded operating systems is usually lightweight, compact, and resource-efficient. This allows them to do specific tasks efficiently.

Windows CE and embedded Linux are some of the better-known embedded operating systems.

Functions of operating system

1. File management: As everyone knows, File systems are usually organized into directories for easy usage and navigation

The operating system monitors information, location, and uses of files. It also decides which files get resources by allocating and deallocating resources.

2. Device management: This is one of the most important functions of the operating system. The operating system ensures that devices like input devices communicate efficiently through their respective drivers. 

Not only that! It keeps track of devices and ensures that device is efficiently allocated and deallocated.

3. Memory management: This is the function of OS that is primarily concerned with the management of the main memory. 

Main memory stores the data and instruction that is currently being executed by the CPU and these data are lost if the computer is switched off.

The operating system ensures that the main memory is used efficiently by keeping track of each user of the primary memory.

It also allocates memory to processes that need it and ensures this memory is deallocated when the process is discontinued.

4. Process management: Another function that the operating system does is deciding which process gets the CPU time and how long. It also deallocates the time when the process is complete.

Without the operating system, this function would have been a mess because some process which requires little Processor(CPU) time would be given a lot of CPU time while those requiring large processor time would be given little processor time.

5. Security: This is perhaps the most sensitive function of the operating system.

Through passwords and pins, the operating system ensures that strangers don't get unauthorized access to your data and files.

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6. Controls improve and ensure system performance: Operating system ensures that all components of the computer system function properly. 

For example, when the system encounters an error or delay request, the operating system ensures that the computer is rebooted. This ensures that the application using a lot of storage is reloaded.

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