Understanding Your Computer Operating System

Over the years, computer operating systems have emerged as the most integral know component of every computer system in the world. Without the operating system, you almost won’t be able to use a computer. You don’t need to know any complicated commands settings or codes to be able to use a computer with the aid of a computer operating system.

Right in the first few years of computers, operating systems were not in existence. But after the invention of powerful computers, they were developed. What is known as ‘punch cards’ was being used to enter information’s onto a computer before operating systems came to existence. To get the desired information’s needed on computers, punch card machines where used. But they were not all that efficient.

Computer programmers were able to successfully design the first computer operating systems. They considered the fact that life will be easier if common people like me and you should be able to use a computer without knowing much or even noting about complex computer languages.

With the success of early computer programmers, there are so many computer operating systems these days available in the world of computers today. A lot are also still being developed even as you are reading this now. Virtually most of resent operating systems are designed with the common user in mind. An average computer user can now load most computer programs with a simple use of a mouse and just a few clicks.

Every system has a specific function to perform behind the scenes. The user will not even be able to see or even need to know that they are there. What these operating systems do behind your computer is commonly known as multiple tasking. It makes using a PC much more easily without managing computer resources manually.

Among the main basic functions every computer operating system does perform include:

* Managing your Random Access Memory (RAM)
* Managing your Hard Disc
* Scheduling of various tasks on your computer
* Providing a reasonable level of security to your computer, to prevent any external party to gain access to your PC
* To navigate various programs on your PC whenever you want to open them
* And many more

Microsoft Windows and Apple’s Mac OS are the world’s most famous operating systems today. Other similar computer operating systems do exist also. But they got their technologies from the famous two computer leading giants.

Two other operating systems that are rapidly gaining popularity in the world today are Linux and GNU. But they are mainly focused on the network and system marketing industry.

Operating System – Scheduling and Its Categories

Scheduler is the most critical system of an Operating System. In order to optimize the utilization of processors, several scheduling algorithms are used. When the system has various processes to execute, it must have a capability to make decisions about which process to run at the given time slot. This strategy should keep in view the concepts of maximizing throughput, minimizing latency and also avoiding the process starvation etc. Many scheduling algorithms are widely used nowadays.

Scheduling is the core concept in OS design. In multiprogramming, the processes that are loaded in the main memory strive for the resources i.e. processor time. During the execution of one process, other processes wait for any event to occur or for an I/O operation to be performed. Scheduling regulates the execution of these processes i.e. which process will run and which process will wait. The objectives that must be fulfilled by the scheduling algorithm include effective utilization of the processor time, throughput and turnaround, response time and fairness. OS can be categorically divided into three different types of scheduling i.e. long term scheduling, short term scheduling and medium term scheduling.

Latest multi user systems can run a hundreds of applications concurrently, yet these systems provide some isolation between users. However, absence of isolation may lead some users towards poor performance or intentional or unintentional DoS (Denial of Service). In recent computational clusters, these problems are easily prevented by using the concept of jobs and job schedulers. This postpones the job until resources are available and schedule it after the availability of all the possible resources.

Categories:

An operating system may be the best known software that we run on our personal computers, it’s what takes proper care of virtually everything on the computer, while nearly all computer systems we have seen are actually one ‘type’ of operating-system carrying out exactly the same functions. OS could be branched into a number of different types too. Inside the broad group, you will find many types of OS which are mainly categorized based on the kinds of computer systems they control and also the kind of programs they support.

Depending upon the nature of domain, OS can be divided into some of the following types.

1. Real Time OS:

A Real Time Operating System (Usually known as RTOS) is specifically designed for serving the real time application requests. The major characteristic of a real time OS is its consistency level that it takes to accept and finish any task of the associated applications.

2. Embedded OS:

The Embedded systems are resource limited systems and commonly response time is an extremely significant requirement. As the most important parts of real-time embedded OS, scheduling algorithms are presented to improve the real-time of the embedded systems. The most existing real-time scheduling algorithms are based on the processes with little consideration about the resources in the systems.

3. Network OS:

The network operating system (NOS) is the software that is installed on a server and allows the server to manage data, groups, users, applications, security, and many other networking tasks. The network OS is designed to allow shared file and printer access among multiple computers in a network, typically a local area network (LAN), private network or to other networks.

4. Mobile OS:

A mobile operating system (mobile OS) is designed to control a smartphone, tablet, PDA, or other mobile device. Modern mobile OS combine the features of a personal computer OS with touch screen, cellular, Bluetooth, WiFi, GPS mobile navigation, camera, video camera speech recognition, voice recorder, music player, Near field communication and personal digital assistant (PDA), and many other features.
In 2006, Windows Phone, Android, Bada and iOS were not yet developed and just 64 million smartphones were then sold. Today, nearly 10 times as many smartphones are already sold and the best mobile OS has been promoted as “smartphones” by the market share which includes BlackBerry, Android, Symbian, Apple, iOS, Meego, Bada, and Windows Phone.

5. Distributed OS:

A distributed operating system is the logical aggregation of OS software over a collection of independent networked, connected, communicating, and physically distinct computational nodes. The management components collection and micro-kernel operates together. They provide a support for the system’s aim of integrating numerous resources and processing functionality into an effective and established system.

In this article, a review study of different operating system was performed. The ease of techniques that are used supports the statement that the scheduling algorithms provide user friendly, highly flexible and most optimal solution to any ordinary problem related to job sequencing. This work can be extended by considering, reviewing and evaluating the dynamic scheduling algorithms and job sequencing problems in the particular domain.

Web Operating System (WebOS)

The web operating system is different things to different people. Until now, use of the term has been much freer than is good for the sake of clarity and preciseness. For some people, a web operating system is merely an interface between a human user and web applications and services. This interface is basically an integrated collection of applications and services from the web – that is to say, each application concerned can be accessed through the WebOS. Other people insist that a WebOS should have an interface that lets the end user pick, make and discard applications at will. Some would agree but only if it also has the ability to save user settings for various users of the same system.

There are also those that believe WebOS is indeed an interface for applications but that it should be run from a remote server. On the other hand, some believe that an interface for web applications that is installed and found in the client computer is still WebOS; as long as it supports and provides convenient access through web applications, it can qualify as WebOS.

Finally, some believe that a web operating system should be more than just an interface but an active manager of the applications and processes that it supports. That is, it should prioritize applications and should set parameters for loading and running these applications with a view to optimizing speed, performance and stability. In a nutshell, a WebOS must have control over the web applications to which it provides access – just like the way a traditional operating system like Windows has ultimate control over the whole environment where the applications it supports are run.

Web Operating System: The Closer to Traditional OS, the Better

In the traditional sense of the term, an operating system is the software that manages the operation of a device (e.g. a computer). It is responsible for booting-up procedures as it is for controlling and managing the computing environment. It sets the protocol for accessing files, installing programs, running applications, allocating computer resources including memory, overseeing system security, and more. Aside from managing computer functions, traditional operating systems also have location in common. Specifically, a traditional OS like Windows and Mac OS are both installed in the end-user’s computer.

A web operating system is something that does the same things that a traditional OS does. It manages the environment where applications are run and loaded, provides a system of access, minimizes conflict among applications, maximizes use of resources, and does other traditional OS functions.

However, the WebOS is remotely available or available through the internet. This makes it independent of the local computer or device through which it is being accessed. That is, you can access media files through your computer even if your computer’s operating system has no media player support since you’ll be using the WebOS instead of the computer OS.

Note that in a WebOS setup, the operating system and the applications that it supports are located in a remote server and the whole system (both the operating system and applications) is accessible through an internet browser or via a plug-in/utility installed in the client computer.

Due to the fact that a WebOS, for all its advanced features, actually doesn’t have boot-up capabilities and hardware control, some people have come to dub it as the web-based desktop. It is simply like a computer desktop that provides a platform through which you can store files, manage/run a variety of applications and save your preferred settings with one difference: the whole system is virtual and web-based so it can be accessed only through the internet.

How a WebOS Works

There are a lot of web operating systems online. One is eyeOS that is freely available to anyone who registers and becomes a member. To access the eyeOS desktop, you should go to the eyeOS user interface URL, then log in with your username and password to get immediate access to a virtual desktop that comes with file storage, IM and text editing capabilities as well as other eyeOS-compatible applications. It works pretty much like your own computer desktop – except you will be using different applications (in eyeOS the email program is eyeMail, whereas in a Windows-based computer the email utility is MS Outlook) and you will not be using up your computer resources for file storage and such because all your files, programs and settings shall be stored at the remote server.

The WebOS Advantage

The main advantage of WebOS is that your files, applications and whatever it is you’re working on through your virtual desktop can be accessed through whatever type of internet-capable device. Thus, you can log on to your virtual desktop using a computer (old or new) or a handheld device without compatibility issues. Another chief advantage is remote access; that is to say, you can access your files, settings and applications wherever you may happen to be and whatever device or computer is available. You also don’t tie up your computer resources since all your stuff is housed in a remote server.

The development of applications that run on the various web operating systems – especially the open-source ones – can be expected to continue and even speed up through the coming years. When this happens, you can expect the benefits of having a full suite of applications available at your disposal wherever, whenever and using whatever gadget is conveniently accessible.