If we were to ask you what an operating system is, would you know the answer?
Come on, we all know that operating systems are in our Android or iOS mobile, they are also in our computer.
But do you really know what this is, how it works, and everything an operating system can do? Maybe the answer is a resounding no.
It’s no wonder, really, why don’t we find out together today?
Table of Content
What is an operating system?
Also known as OS, this is software that has the ability to coordinate and manage all the services and applications that you use as a user on certain devices.
We can use, for example, your mobile for the use of applications like WhatsApp or Instagram, while your computer can open some browser or program like Spotify.
These types of functions make the operating system one of the most important elements in each of these devices.
After all, they are programs that make it possible to operate almost every basic aspect of the system.
If we had to mention some of the most widely used OSs today, we would have to talk about Windows and Linux for computers and Android and iOS for mobiles.
Although some years ago Huawei tried to develop its own operating system after some controversy, it didn’t work out.
Back to the subject, operating systems are basic protocols that enable operability in the devices we gave as an example earlier.
Basically, they allow you to communicate functions and have the device process and implement them in a matter of seconds.
All operating systems are composed of kernels, although they are also composed of graphical interfaces, desktop environments, and even window managers.
This is what allows all users to run their commands on the devices.
But it wasn’t always like this, in fact, the first computers did not have an operating system, but of course, we are talking about the 60s.
In those years computers used batch processing and it was around this time that the development of the operating systems we have today began.
It wasn’t until 30 years later that one of the operating systems that would mark the beginning of what we have today started to function. Do you remember Windows 95? It wasn’t the first, but it was the one that marked a before and after in this sector.
What is the operating system for and what does it do?
All the programs you run, whether on your mobile or computer, are supported by the operating system, so it’s basic to their operation.
Have you ever wondered why there are some programs you can install and some that you can’t? This is regulated by the OS, it determines whether you can run the program or not.
Basically, it’s the fundamental piece of the operating system, thus being the central axis of the chain of all processes.
Let’s say that it establishes the working conditions for proper operation, we are talking about resource management, methods, and so on.
That’s what it’s for, but what it does goes a bit further. Did you connect a new peripheral to your computer or smartphone? This is part of the hardware, and do you know who manages these resources? Exactly, the operating system.
It’s like a supervisor inside our device that indicates everything as soon as it starts working and constantly monitors that everything is working as it should be. But let’s look at it more precisely.
- It controls and manages resources.
- It establishes the execution order of resources and programs.
- It manages memory swapping between applications.
- Notifies about application malfunctions.
- It’s in charge of the input and output of new hardware.
Operating System Components
There are many types of OS, but we’ll talk about that later, we shouldn’t rush. It is important though, to clarify that all of them are composed of different parts and/or elements that allow their operation.
- Kernel or core: it’s the central part of the system. Basically, it’s the heart of the whole operating system, which is why it’s called “kernel”. It’s in charge of the execution of all system startup, as well as the basic level control of all hardware and software components of the device. The kernel is isolated during its execution to prevent damage by malicious software. There are 2 popular ones: monolithic and multicore kernels.
- User interface: allows interaction between the user and the device. It can be the graphical section since it provides the desktop, windows, and other graphical components that the user sees to generate an intuitive interaction through commands that can be used more easily.
- Drivers: software in charge of the detection of new hardware in the device: headphones, mouse, USB, among others.
- File system: component in charge of space allocation and management of free space for data storage.
- Protection system: the system that forces the use of security mechanisms to control the use of applications and/or programs that will not affect the performance and operation of the device.
- Input/output system: the cache memory that stores temporary files to facilitate input and output management and avoid interruptions.
- Process management: the part of the system that is responsible for creating, pausing, terminating, or resuming processes to ensure better performance.
Characteristics of an operating system
Have you ever wondered what makes all operating systems have something in common? That’s what we want to talk to you about now. Let’s see what features a good operating system should have.
1. It has different mechanisms
Operating systems must have 3 essential mechanisms to fulfill this feature.
- Authentication mechanisms to verify the identity of users.
- Administration mechanisms that establish the maximum limits of packets that can be used by users,
- Protection mechanisms to block the execution of certain applications that interfere with user data or the operation of other applications.
2. Device resources management
Managing different resources in a prioritized manner is an important part of the operating system. It’s impossible to use a program that’s not available, so the operational software constantly monitors the operation of the types of devices and programs that are being used.
This monitoring makes resource management possible since it establishes what is approved and what is rejected at any given time to ensure the system’s operation.
3. Work management
When you wake up in the morning you have a routine, that is time management. In the case of operating systems, the same thing happens when they start. They must establish the order in which the different processes, programs, commands and other aspects that make the computer work properly are going to be executed.
All this enters a waiting “queue” that occurs in seconds, since the OS establishes the priorities and, based on this, it executes in an orderly manner. During all this process some jobs are:
- The resource utilization.
- The currently processed jobs.
- Priority of jobs compared to the rest.
- Resources used by each program and/or application.
- Any other needs to be solved.
4. Control of input and output operations
Every time you plug a new device, from a printer to a mouse, into your computer, a new input/output operations control job begins. Although this happens in a matter of seconds for us, it takes a lot of work that’s done by the operating system.
The OS develops a dictionary that must be traversed by the new devices to configure the operations, workings, jobs and other aspects that the new hardware must access. Once it has been completed, it can be used.
5. Multi-tasking systems
How many tasks can our computer or smartphone perform at the same time? Nowadays a multitasking system is almost an essential feature of operating systems because of the large number of utilities and tasks they must perform at the same time.
6. Must have a core
We already talked a bit about them. This is the most important feature of all operating systems, since it is the heart of the system. They manage almost all the processes, from the use of ram, to the storage of program information, as well as drivers, hard disks, among others.
7. Provide connections
One of the last important characteristics is that it must offer connections between 3 fundamental elements: software, hardware and user interface.
Types and examples of operating systems
So far we’ve talked about systems in general, but the truth is that there are many types and examples of them. However, we can divide it into 2 large groups, well-known and little-known operating systems, although for our interest we will talk only about the most popular ones.
Most popular operating systems
- Windows: it’s the operating system par excellence and the most used in computers today. It’s developed by the Microsoft company and there’s a long list of versions that have been updated since its first version: Windows 1.0 in 1985, Windows 2.0 in 1987, Windows 3.0 in 1990, Windows 3.1 in 1992, Windows 95 in 1995, Windows 98 in 1998, Windows Millenium ME in 2000, Windows XP in 2001, Windows Vista 2006, Windows 7 in 2009, Windows 8 in 2012, Windows 10 in 2015, Windows 11 in 2021,
- Mac OS: is Apple’s Macintosh operating system for personal computers and laptops of the same line. It’s recognized for its speed and is quite popular in the industry.
- Linux: the free and open source operating system designed by Linus Torvalds. It’s characterized by offering the user a choice of KDE or Gnome window manager.
- Android: an OS developed for smartphones and tablets, made with the Linux kernel by Google and Open Handset in 2007. It’s the most used nowadays due to the popularization of smartphones and tablets.
- iOS: is the Mac OS developed in 2007 to compete in the smartphone market, but in its exclusive line of iPhone and iPad.
Which is the best OS for marketing?
Now an interesting question arises, which of all these operating systems is best suited for digital marketing? It depends on what sector you are betting on. We leave you several of the best OS for marketing, along with some data on each of them.
- Apple iOS: due to its ease of use and because it’s exclusive to iPhones, it’s used by 48% of small companies.
- Windows 10: thanks to its years in the market, it’s one of the most common, accounting for 34% of large and medium-sized companies in the marketing world.
- Mac OS: again Apple, but this time for its desktop version, but with a 53% segment of the small business marketing market.
- Android: this is one of the easiest software to use, which gives greater versatility, being used by 49% of small businesses and 26% of medium-sized businesses in the marketing industry.
Operating systems are everywhere!
In short, OSs are here to stay since today we use them more often than many people think, especially if you work with a computer or your smartphone.
Did you know all this about operating systems?
But better yet, tell us, which OS do you use the most nowadays, taking into account that the most common and used ones are Windows, Android, iOS, MAC OS and Linux. We will be reading you in the comments.