What is an operating system?
An operating system (OS) is the software that allows a user to run other applications on a computing device. It is the base infrastructure software component of a computerized system. It controls all basic operations of the computer.
The most popular computer operating systems are Microsoft’s Windows and Apple’s MacOS, along with the various distributions of Linux.
And the most popular operating system for mobile phones include Apple’s iOS and Google’s Android. We also have the RIM’s BlackBerry OS and Microsoft’s Windows Mobile.
The operating system manages a device’s hardware resources, including:
- Network devices such as modems, routers and network connections
- Storage devices such as internal and external drives
- Input devices such as a keyboard and mouse
- Output devices such as display monitors, printers and scanners
For large devices, the operating system has even greater responsibilities and powers. It is like a traffic cop — it makes sure that different programs and users running at the same time do not interfere with each other. The operating system is also responsible for security, ensuring that unauthorized users do not access the system.