An operating system (OS) is software that manages computer hardware and software resources and provides common services for computer programs. The operating system is an essential component of the system software in a computer system. Application programs usually require an operating system to function.
Time-sharing operating systems schedule tasks for efficient use of the system and may also include accounting software for cost allocation of processor time, mass storage, printing, and other resources.
For hardware functions such as input and output and memory allocation, the operating system acts as an intermediary between programs and the computer hardware,although the application code is usually executed directly by the hardware and will frequently make a system call to an OS function or be interrupted by it. Operating systems can be found on almost any device that contains a computer—from cellular phones and video game consoles to supercomputers and web servers.
Examples of popular modern operating systems include Android, BSD, iOS, Linux, OS X, QNX, Microsoft Windows,Phone Windows, and IBM z/OS. All these examples, except Windows, Windows Phone and z/OS, share roots in UNIX.
Windows, Mac and Linux are undoubtedly the three major operating systems used by computer users around the world. Windows has the highest user base, followed by Linux and Mac. True, all three are operating systems, but the internal architectures are different in each. This difference in architecture also results in a difference in the types of hardware and software that the three can support.
The Windows operating system is pretty versatile, and can be installed on PCs having variable amounts of resources. There are versions of Windows that can be installed on PCs having as little resource as 233 MHz processor and 64 MB RAM. On the other hand, the later versions can require as high resources as Pentium 4 processors with 512 MB RAM. Thus Windows users get good choices for their operating systems, based on the system resources they have. However, Windows operating system cannot be installed in Macintosh computers.
However, an even greater benefit of Windows users is the user-friendliness of the operating system. The graphical user interface is surprisingly easy to work with, and many complicated tasks on Windows can be performed with a few clicks of a mouse only. Even a layman who has never used computers can learn how to use Windows in relatively short time interval. Windows has the highest user base, and correspondingly, most software vendors develop software packages, tools and utilities based on this operating system. So, whatever task users may need to perform, chances are that they will find multiple tools or utilities to assist them in the task.
Linux users have the benefit of having low resource requirements as well. Linux can be installed on a PC just having the bare minimum resources. In fact, Linux is so versatile that almost any type of computer and console can probably support it, except Macintosh computers, which come preloaded with Mac OS X. However, the real problem with Linux mostly lies in its lack of user-friendliness. While Linux does have a good graphical user interface, users still have to use the command line to perform many tasks. Command lines only accept textual commands that must be typed by hand, and are often too complicated for novice users.
Macintosh computers come preloaded with the Mac OS X, and this OS can only be installed on the Mac. These computers are considerably more expensive than other PCs. Even an entry level Mac can cost almost twice the amount required to assemble a Windows PC. Price is a major setback, and so is the hardware support of this OS. Mac OS X can only work on computers built specifically for the operating system. No other type of computer can run a Mac OS X.
These are basically the compatibility issues regarding the three major operating systems that are used around the world these days. Each has pros and cons, and the choice is ultimately dependent on the user’s preference.
Mac vs. Windows vs. Linux
Three operating systems – Windows, Macintosh, and Linux – dominate the world of computing today. But what sets them apart?
The first Windows system was released in 1985. Originally, it was just a graphical user interface on top of MS-DOS – a state of affairs that lasted until the release of Windows 95, when MS-DOS products were integrated into Windows. Windows 95 was a huge departure from the previous systems and was the first major step in Window’s transition from GUI to operating system.
The Apple Macintosh system is a little older than Windows, having first been released in 1984. From the start, it was an entirely graphical operating system, and from quite an early stage became popular among the earliest computer graphic designers. In 2005, Apple changed the design and structure of Mac OS, moving from the IBM-made PowerPC CPU architecture to the same Intel x86-based architecture as used in PCs. This heralded the transition from “Classic” Mac OS to the current OS X series. The design change meant Mac became a Unix-based operating system, like the next OS I will cover.
Linux has the unlikely origin of being the hobby project of Finnish university student Linus Torvalds. He was unsatisfied with an existing Unix-like academic operating system – with limited licensing – named Minix, and decided he could do better (and make it free, open-source software). The resulting system was eventually named after Torvalds. The Linux kernel was first released independently in 1991, designed to be used with GNU software. GNU developers eventually integrated their software into Linux to create an OS. Linux is available in many forms to suit many needs, from consumer-oriented systems for home use to distributions for use in specific industries.
The Windows series of operating systems have the obvious benefit of market ubiquity. For most people, Windows will be extremely familiar and therefore easy to use; Windows is the “standard” operating system bundled with new PCs. This means that the vast majority of software, hardware, support and training available is designed with Windows compatibility primarily in mind. The overwhelming market dominance of the Windows operating system has shaped the way consumers relate to and think about OS’s and GUI’s – “taskbar” “start menu” and “desktop” all entered the common lexicon following the immense popularity of Windows 95.
OS X is known for its excellent, intuitive user interface. Its main advantage continues to be that, due to inevitably having fewer users than Windows, there are far fewer viruses written for the system making it less vulnerable to attack. As well as being secure, the system is very stable, whilst maintaining high levels of performance – an advantage considering the impressive range of professional applications available.
Linux has the immediate benefit of being free to obtain, and available for use without restrictions. It is open source with a large, supportive community building a seemingly infinite range of free applications for use on Linux machines. Many (many!) distributions of Linux are available, giving users the ability to choose one that suits their personal needs (then further customize it). Similar to OS X, Linux is less vulnerable to attack than a Windows PC, and Linux distributions are typically updated frequently – incredibly frequently compared to other operating systems – further enhancing their stability and security. Linux operating systems are perhaps the most widely ported – there are distributions used in a wide range of devices from smartphones to TiVo.
Windows is designed to run on PCs, whether bought new or built cheaply, so hardware costs are essentially determined by the consumer. However, the cost of buying the latest version of Windows can be prohibitive (Windows XP is still the most widely used version), and the restrictive licensing inevitably forces each user to purchase a copy as they cannot be shared. Coupled with the similarly inevitable cost of purchasing the also-ubiquitous Microsoft Office suite and it is easy to see how users may prefer to simply wait until they need to buy a new PC bundled with Microsoft software.
Despite being Unix-based, OS X is also proprietary software. Furthermore, users are forced to purchase Apple hardware if they wish to use it; Apple computers remain much more expensive than PCs.
Linux may be the cheapest, most easily available and customizable of the three, but the continued dominance of Windows (not to mention the fact it comes pre-installed on most machines) often deters home users from changing to this unfamiliar platform. Additionally, while Linux may have a large number of community-sourced applications available, it does not offer as many professional quality one as the other systems. Minority use means some third party software (such as popular PC games) is yet to have a Linux release.
Windows continues to be the most popular OS worldwide, with Microsoft estimated to be holding on to roughly 90% of desktop users. Windows still represents the extent of many home users’ experience with operating systems. Apple computers have gained in popularity in recent years, and the Mac OS remains popular with professionals – particularly those in creative industries such as graphic design and video editing – due to the quality and performance of programs such as Photoshop on OS X. The OS X system is also the basis for the iPhone iOS, giving many more users contact and experience with Apple systems. Linux may have the smallest share of home users, however commercial use is huge. Servers, mainframes and supercomputers commonly use Linux, as do the film industry, governments both nationally and locally, and many portable device manufacturers. As personal computers move away from the desktop and increasingly become portable, adoption of other operating systems will surely follow.
Every now and then, I get clients who ask me for recommendations on what laptop or computer they should get. I figured this would be a great place to list some of my favorites. Now keep in mind, it really depends on your needs! There are so many different choices out there that it’s hard to say my recommendations will be right for YOU.
Apple MacBook Air
This is honestly the best laptop I’ve ever owned. It is so damn sexy. While it’s super portable (weighing 3 pounds and measuring .68 inches at its thickest), this is a powerful laptop. Because of its physical size, it may not have as much hard drive space as most computers (256 gb at the most), but you’ll find it has plenty. The battery life is crazy awesome. I can even let it sleep for days and open it to find plenty of battery life left.
Samsung Series 5 550 Chromebook
Now, this laptop DOESN’T have Windows installed, but I thought I’d list it here anyway. In case you didn’t know, I love Google and their products! What makes the Chromebook unique is that it is easy and fast to use. Your computer doesn’t really “get old” because with the automatic updates, your Chromebook “keeps getting better and better”. The computer also features automatic updates, no blue screen, built-in virus protection, super fast booting and start up.
LeTs EnJoY ThIs ViDeO ….