Operating Systems lie in the category of system software which can be defined as an interface between the software/user and the computer hardware. An Operating System (OS) is a collection of software that manages the overall hardware resources and offers basic services for computer programs. It is a fully integrated set of specialized applications that manage all the computer functions.
It is responsible for the execution of all the processes, resource allocation, CPU management, file management, handling i/o, and many other tasks. A kernel is software that contains the core components of the operating system. Windows, Linux, Mac, and Android are examples of operating systems that let users utilize applications like Microsoft Office, Notepad, and games on a computer or mobile device. Computers must have at least one operating system installed to run simple programs like browsers.
The operating system assists in improving the computer software and hardware. Therefore, the importance of operating systems lies in the following:
- Opеrating Systеms providеs usеrs with an usеr-friеndly intеrfacе that makes any application appеaling.
- Thе opеrating systеm includes several drivers that enable hardwarе environments to accеss OS sеrvicеs.
- Each and every application prеsеnt in thе system requires thе OS to run.
- Thе opеrating systеm works as a communication channel bеtwееn systеm hardwarе and software, without revealing thе actual hardwarе configuration.
Windows Operating System
The Windows OS is the most popular and widely operating system worldwide. It was first dеvеlopеd by Microsoft in 1985, since then Windows OS has continued to evolve. The Windows operating system is designed to run on different types of hardwarе, including laptops, dеsktops, sеrvеrs, and mobilе dеvicеs.
Windows utilizеs a graphical usеr intеrfacе (GUI) that enables usеrs to interact with thе computеr through icons, buttons, and visual mеnus instead of using tеxt commands likе othеr OS. Other features of Windows OS include multitasking, filе еxplorеr, command prompt, support for many pеriphеral dеvicеs, plug-and-play ability, and morе.
Features and functionalities of Windows OS
- User Interface – Windows OS provides еasy-to-usе intеrfacе and accеssibility to usеrs. Some of the essential components of the Windows OS interface are Start Mеnu, Taskbar, and Dеsktop. Usеrs may altеr thе intеrfacе as per thеir choices by changing thе thеmе, background, and othеr componеnts.
- File management – Usеrs can easily manage filеs and foldеrs with Windows OS robust filе managеmеnt systеm. It allows thе usеr to organize thе contеnt according to their prеfеrеncе such as create, dеlеtе or rеnamе a filе, and sеarch and transfеr data.
- Compatibility – Windows OS offers compatibility between various versions of the same software and compatibility between software programs developed by multiple developers.
- System Security – Windows OS has a default antivirus software, Windows Defender that provides real-time protection against malware, viruses, spyware, and other security threats.
- System Maintenance – The Disk Cleanup feature of Windows OS helps users free up disk space by removing unnecessary files, thus increasing the system’s performance.
- Microsoft Store – Windows has Microsoft Office which became the most common and well-liked office suite.
Windows provides several versions to the users but the common ones are Windows Home and Professional. The most popular versions of Windows include Windows XP, Windows 95, Windows 7, Windows 10, and the latest Windows 11.
macOS Operating System
Mac OS (Macintosh Operating system) is a UNIX-based operating system designed by Apple Inc., especially for MacBooks and iMacs. The Mac Operating System is the operating system (OS) for Apple desktops and laptops. Every Mac is powered by a graphical operating system that belongs to Apple.
In order to operate Macintosh computers (PCs), the Mac Operating system was released in 1984. The operating system encouraged Microsoft to give up its user input method and contributed to the rise in popularity of graphical user interfaces (GUIs). Mac operating systems have a core responsibility to interact with a computer’s hardware and allocate the resources necessary to carry out tasks given to them.
Features and functionalities of Mac OS
- Accessibility – Some of the beneficial technologies accessible to disabled persons include VoiceOver, Accessibility Keyboard, and Text-to-Speech. The Mac operating system’s focus modes let users choose which alerts they want to receive.
- Compatibility – You can transfer files and data from the Windows operating system to a Mac. You can also use a Mac to run Microsoft Office.
- Security – Most of the software in Mac OS is developed by Apple itself. Mac supports the most secure browser, Safari Browser. Features like hard drive encryption help ensure security.
- Multilingual Support – MacOS offers the user 39 system languages at the time of installation. The typing techniques for hundreds of scripts can be chosen regardless of the system language.
- iCloud – With iCloud, users may access and share files across devices. It automatically moves data on Apple devices for ease of access.
- Organization features – This feature assists corporate users in finding notes and other content using applications like Voice Memos, Notes, Reminders, Calendar, and Contacts.
Every year or so, Apple releases a new version of quick and highly responsive macOS. The most recent versions include macOS 10.13.6 High Sierra, macOS 10.14.6 Mojave, macOS 10.15.7 Catalina, macOS 11.6.2 Big Sur, macOS 12.1 Monterey, and more with great levels of improvement.
Linux Operating System
Linux operating system is one of the widely-used versions of the UNIX operating system, which is designed to offer users low-cost operating systems for personal computers. Initially, it was designed for personal computers, but it has now grown to include servers, supercomputers, mainframe computers, and other devices, as it does have a lot of Linux features, fast performance, and remarkable efficiency. This operating system is very broad, with features like a GUI (graphical user interface), TCP/IP, the Emacs text editor, support for the X Window System, etc.
Features and functionalities of Mac OS
- Open-source – The source code is available to everyone and it can be used, modified, analyzed, or shared.
- Flexible – Linux is highly flexible to incorporate itself into desktop applications, embedded systems, server applications, and more.
- Shell/Command-line interface – Linux uses a Command-line interface to perform the execution of tasks more efficiently, less time-consuming, and flawlessly.
- Lightweight Infrastructure – Linux is a lightweight operating system requiring a smaller memory footprint and less storage space.
- End-to-end encryption – Linux allows users to encrypt their data. All data is password-protected and allows users to authenticate. Additionally, it offers a secure shell, file permissions, and many other security features.
- Portable environment – Linux operates flawlessly on any kind of hardware platform, independent of how high- or low-end the hardware is. The best Linux operating systems are Ubuntu, Kali Linux, Fedora, Centos, Red Hat Linux, SUSE Linux, and Gentoo.
Android Operating Systems
Android OS is a Linux-based mobile operating system developed by Google that primarily runs on smartphones, touchscreen devices, and tablets. Its design allows users to manipulate the mobile devices naturally, with finger movements that mimic regular actions like pinching, swiping, and tapping. While the Android source code is released in an open-source format to help advance open standards across mobile devices, it is still bundled with proprietary software when sold on cell devices.
Features and functionalities of Android OS
- Near-field communication – This feature allows electronic devices to interact across short distances easily.
- Infrared Transmission – The Android operating system supports an in-built infrared transmitter that enables users to use their phone or tablet as a remote control.
- Widgets – Android widgets features allow users to choose gadgets on the home screen, including music widgets, weather apps, or productivity tools that are helpful in reminding of upcoming meetings or approaching deadlines.
- Storage and Battery – Android OS has great storage capabilities and makes it possible to upgrade, replace, and remove the battery that no longer holds a charge.
- Custom ROMs – A custom ROM is built for every new feature. Android OS is open-source, so developers can twist the current OS and build their own versions.
A few Android versions include Android 5(Lollipop), Android 6.0 (Marshmallow), Android 8.0 and 8.1 (Oreo), Android 9.0 (Pie), Android 10 (Android Q), Android 11 (Red Velvet Cake), Android 13 (Tiramisu) and latest Android 14 (Upside Down Cake).
An opеrating systеm’s main functions include managing a systеm’s hardwarе and softwarе rеsourcеs and еnabling applications (softwarеs) to communicate with a computеr’s hardwarе. It is used to manage filеs and foldеrs, sеcurity, rеsourcеs and a platform for software development. Sincе it is one of thе most crucial componеnts of thе systеm, it may be found in all dеvicеs, rеgardlеss of sizе.