What is an Operating System (OS) ?

An Operating system (OS) is a software that acts as an interface between the end-user and computer hardware. Every computer must have at least one OS to run other programs. An application like Chrome, MS Word, Games, etc. need some environment in which it will run and perform its task. It is the program that, after being initially loaded into the computer by a boot program, manages all of the other application programs on a computer. The application programs make use of the operating system by making requests for services through a defined application program interface (API). Besides, users can interact directly with the operating system through a user interface such as a command line or a graphical user interface (GUI).

An Operating System performs these services for the application:

  • It manages the sharing of internal memory among multiple applications.
  • In a multitasking operating system, where multiple programs can be running at the same time, the OS determines which applications should run in what order and how much time should be allowed for each application before giving another application a turn.
  • It handles input and output to and from attached hardware devices.
  • It can offload the management of batch jobs (for example, printing) so that the initiating application is freed from this work.
  • On computers that can provide parallel processing, an operating system can manage how to divide the program so that it runs on more than one processor at a time.
  • It sends messages to each application or interactive user (or to a system operator) about the status of operation and any errors that may have occurred.

All major computer platforms (hardware and software) require and sometimes include an operating system, and operating systems must be developed with different features to meet the specific needs of various form factors.

Examples of operating systems
Common desktop operating systems include:

Windows


It is Microsoft’s flagship operating system, the de facto standard for home and business computers. Introduced in 1985, the GUI-based OS has been released in many versions since then. The user-friendly Windows 95 was largely responsible for the rapid development of personal computing. Windows OS, a computer operating system (OS) developed by Microsoft Corporation to run personal computers (PCs). Featuring the first graphical user interface (GUI) for IBM-compatible PCs, the Windows OS soon dominated the PC market. Approximately 90 percent of PCs run some version of Windows.

Mac OS

It is the operating system for Apple’s Macintosh line of personal computers and workstations. macOS (previously Mac OS X and later OS X) is a series of non-free graphical operating systems developed and marketed by Apple Inc. since 2001. It is the primary operating system for Apple’s Mac family of computers. Within the market of desktop, laptop, and home computers, and by web usage, it is the second most widely used desktop OS, after Microsoft Windows

Unix 


It is a multi-user operating system designed for flexibility and adaptability. Originally developed in the 1970s, Unix was one of the first operating systems to be written in C language. Unix is a family of multitasking, multiuser computer operating systems that derive from the original AT&T Unix, development starting in the 1970s at the Bell Labs research center by Ken Thompson, Dennis Ritchie, and others.

Linux


It is a Unix-like operating system that was designed to provide personal computer users a free or very low-cost alternative. Linux has a reputation as a very efficient and fast-performing system. Linux is a family of open-source Unix-like operating systems based on the Linux kernel, an operating system kernel first released on September 17, 1991, by Linus Torvalds. Linux is typically packaged in a Linux distribution.

Conclusion
Without Operating System the computers cannot run the application and we cannot do work with the computer. As OS controls and coordinates the use of the hardware among the various applications programs for various uses, we can say that it plays a very important role in a computer system. Therefore OS is very important in a computer.