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Operating system What is it, what is it for and how does it work?

Operating system What is it

The operating system is the heart of your computer ; well, rather a part of it, a very large one that makes it work in every way that is possible.

Of course, we no longer speak only and computers. The operating systems have reached industrial machines, telephones, televisions and even watches , so that a large part of the technological devices we use today include our own.

Do you want to know exactly what it is and what it is used for? You will discover them in the following lines, along with other information such as types, examples and frequently asked questions about this type of software.

What is and what is an operating system for? Definition

This is the base software of any computer system . That is, a set of programs, with their corresponding information, that executes tasks acting as an intermediary between the hardware and the user .

It is , along with other data, in ROM , a chip with the essential information for a computer and its system to start working . Its execution is therefore privileged .

Functions and features of an operating system

An operating system has several functions, such as:

  • Start the computer , that is, each and every one of its hardware elements, checking them one by one.
  • Offer control routines of devices.
  • Manage tasks , make them interact and, if necessary, scale them.
  • Maintain the system full .

We see that it includes utilities focused on:

  • Manage documents and files that the user creates.
  • Run programs in a controlled manner.
  • Enable communication between computers and users .
  • Manage orders and storage .

Basic components and parts of an operating system

Componentes y partes básicas de un sistema operativo

Any operating system that, honoring its name, allows us to operate, will include the following:

  • Core or kernel : It’s your heart. It takes care of points such as memory management, task staggering, communication between processes, processing interruptions and exceptions, hardwares control, in exchange between softwares … Some we see below.
  • Shell: It’s the interface , what the user sees, from text in lines to graphics, windows, pointers …
  • Process management: It is a working methodology that consists of managing the tasks that are assumed by the software, which are create, stop, resume and destroy processes (programs that are in execution) and grant the necessary resources for communication and synchronization between these processes.
  • Main memory management: The methodology in charge to know what part of the memory is in use and who is responsible, choose the processes that they will have to load in memory as soon as possible and make allocations and claims of space.
  • Secondary storage management: Methodology that will handle the issues secondary storage, which refers to data inadequate for main memory and those that cannot be volatile. Disks are planned, free space management is made, storage is allocated and the order of saving is verified of the information.
  • Input system and output: A temporary storage management generated is performed by the input and output elements.
  • File system: A file is a compendium of bits that make up information that relates to each other, forming a complete, compact and defined element. They can include programs, audio tracks, texts and others. Any OS must be able to build and delete files as well as allow us to manipulate them by providing us with the tools and functions necessary for this. On the other hand, it is in charge of corroborating that there is a file-unit storage correspondence as well as making copies . The file systems are different, although for the user these different points may be unclear or important.
  • Protection system: It is responsible for controlling the access of programs and users to resources, distinguishing authorized uses and those that do not, specifying security controls to be performed and forcing the use of protection elements .
  • Communications system: It relates to everything that enables communication between systems, including sending and receiving interfaces, creation and maintenance of communication points and virtual connections of local and remote execution.
  • Programs: External applications that are supplied together (usually by agreements between firms or for belonging, in fact, to the corporation that launches the ope system rationally) but that are not part of this. They make up part of an environment conducive to executing various software when handling files, providing information on how it is in the system or supporting.
  • Resource manager: It is responsible for the administration of main memory, processes, disks, both input and output devices, the central processing unit and the rest of resources with which the account system .

Types of existing OS`s

We can classify the OSs according to various points, finding:

  • Monotarea or multitasking . Depending on the task management, running one or more at the same time.
  • Single user or multi-user . Manage user performance; allow one or more work.
  • Monolithic, hierarchical or client-server . Depending on the structure they present.
  • Centralized or distributed . Depending on how resources are managed, it can be done from one or more teams.

It is also noteworthy to communicate that there is what is known as network operating system , a special type of OS that, as we can deduce from its own name, is the software on which the equipment networks.

Examples of known operating systems

We can also perform another type of classification that categorizes these softwares according to the device to which they are integrated. Let’s see, in this case, the most famous and some of its features.

For computers and PCs

principales sistemas operativos para ordenador

There are, released and / or patented, almost half a hundred OSs for computers, which is logical, since they are the equipment to which this type of software is most attributed, although we currently find SOs on many other devices. The best known are:

  • Windows:
    • It belongs to Microsoft.
    • It is proprietary software.
    • More generic and better known.
    • With an inimitable range of applications.
    • Very flexible in terms of updates.
    • More vulnerable and unstable.
    • Easy to use by anyone.
  • GNU / Linux:
    • The best known free OS.
    • It is very powerful, stable and safe against external threats.
    • Modifiable by the user.
    • It adapts to all types of equipment.
    • And of situations, being scalable.

  • It is multiuser, multitasking and multiprocessor.
  • It has many distributions, which makes it suitable for almost any user.
  • Mac OS:
    • It belongs to Apple.
    • It only works on devices of the brand.
    • It has recently become open source.
    • It has Mac OS classic versions, based on Apple code, and Ma c OS X, which combines Mac OS Classic with a UNIX-based product.
    • Accepts Windows execution in a window.
    • It is quite safe and reliable.
    • Includes all kinds of unique softwares, exclusive to Apple devices.

  • Very high work performance.
  • It is one step ahead of any other in terms of aesthetics.
  • Also in almost all the news regarding functionalities.
  • Hard to maintain and repair.
  • Unix:
    • Pertecene to Novell.
    • Written in C language.
    • It turns out to be portable.
    • It is programmable by adaptation and compilation, being open source.
    • It has a great power, with commands very present in the use of programs.
    • Adaptable to various devices.
    • It has a simple aesthetic but complete.
    • It is multitasking, multisystem and multiuser (shared).
    • Simulates non-interactive processing.
    • It aims the compilation in programming language.
    • Easily redirect inputs and outputs, announcing itself as ideal for software creation.
  • Solaris:
    • It belongs to Oracle Corporation.
    • It happens to SunOS.
    • This is a certified system as a Unix version.
    • Its operation is based on SPARC and x86 architectures.
    • It is used in systems and workstations.
    • Its source code is considered free software with a CDDL license but incompatible with the GPL, from GNU / Linux.
    • Work with containers that allow you to limit a particular software to certain users or for a certain time.
    • You have a desktop environment designed in Java.
    • Includes own resources such as media player, office suite and browser.
  • Wave OS:
    • Under development.
    • It’s free.
    • Open source.
    • It’s a fusion of different Free softwares that already exist.
    • Born from the abandonment of what used to be the code used, renewing itself.
    • It is very light, simple and therefore fast.
    • Hybrid core.
    • Small format.
    • Use an AFS file system.
    • It has a friendly interface that makes it simple for Use by those who are less experienced.
  • BeOS:
    • Created by Apple workers when they left the company.
    • Based on multimedia content and focused on maximum performance in its use.
    • With unbeatable real pre-multitasking support.
    • Monosaur system with a micronucleus.
    • With symmetric multiprocess support.
    • BFS 64-bit file system.
    • With a very careful graphical interface in C ++.
    • Its interface line is based on Bash.
    • A prodigy in its time.
    • Disappeared from the market as such and become a niche development.
    • From this arises Haiku, which expands the improvements of an unheard of OS for its time.
  • Linspire:
    • Belongs to PC / OpenSystem LLC.
    • Based on GNU / Linux, especially Ubuntu.
    • Includes proprietary software.
    • It stands out for being all usability.
    • Windows opening in window.
    • Virtually impossible to hang, with great stability.
  • Chrome OS:
    • It belongs to Google.
    • Based on the Linux Kernel.
    • It does not require local disk space, it runs from the Chrome browser, hosted in the cloud .
    • This also means maximum quality in the synchronization of applications, extensions, files, etc.
    • It is very fast.
    • Support for web applications within from the browser itself.
  • For mobile devices

    principales sistemas operativos para movil

    In the case of mobile devices we find a couple of tens, among which are:

    • Android:
      • Developed by Google.
      • It is based on Linux Kernel (it is its core, on which they depend basic services) as well as in other softwares, also open source.
      • It has different versions that adapt perfectly to all types of devices, well beyond being only for mobile phones.
      • With C / C ++ libraries.
      • Use the SQLite database to store data.
      • Supports many connectivity options.
      • With browser based on WebKit, paired with JavaScript V8.
      • The virtual machine included is Dalvik, designed only for this OS.
      • Java does not run but an executable is compiled from it.
      • Your current development environment is Android Studio.
      • It’s a real multitasking.
    • iOS:
      • It belongs to Apple.
      • Initial development for iPhone but extended to other Apple devices.
      • From us or exclusive to these.
      • It is a derivative of MacOS, the OS for Apple computers.
      • It has four layers of abstraction.
      • Enviable security system with iCloud .
      • Multitasking is optional.
      • Do not use Flash in versions prior to iOS 8; the alternative is HTML5.
      • To run softwares that Apple does not authorize, what is known as jailbreak is performed, a difficult process that allows such action.
      • Includes a development kit for software to encourage developers to create compatible applications for the OS.
    • Blackberry 10:
      • Developed by BlackBerry and belonging to this today.
      • Replaces BackBerry OS.
      • It is closed source.
      • It is based on QNX.
      • It use only on BlackBerry devices.
      • Allow multitasking.
      • Supports various RIM input methods.
      • Implement a minimum of software to run the other processes in the user space.
      • Processes the processes without an isolated response.
      • This means the protection of the OS and other applications executed.
    • Windows 10 Mobile:
      • It belongs to Microsoft, who developed it .
      • It is compatible with smartphones and tablets.
      • Its current development is limited to maintenance.
      • Offers is Cortana assistant that we also find in Windows PCs .
      • Also includes the Edge browser, default in Windows.
      • Design applications for this will not work in the previous versions.
    • HP webOS:
      • It’s the webOS version for mobile.
      • Developed by Palm Inc.
      • It belongs to LG.
      • It’s multitasking.
      • It is based on Linux.
      • It has its own catalog of applications.
      • It is updated from the cloud.
      • Part of your code is open, published as Open webOS.
      • Use on a few specific devices.
    • Tizen:
      • Built from the Linux platform that Samsung has.
      • It has a complicated licensing model, with an SDK that is built in open source but published, by co Fully, for a Samsung code license “not open”.
      • Its development interfaces are based on HTML5 as well as other web standards.
      • Includes libraries Enlightenment Foundation.
      • It has components developed by the South Korean firm.
      • It is used in televisions, phones, netbooks, tablets and other systems integrated in devices.
      • It is compatible with the versions of Android.
    • LineageOS:
      • It turns out to be a fork or fork of Android.
      • It is open source.
      • It has an Apache license.
      • It is used in phones and tablets.
      • It is based on AOSP.
      • Your source code is available on GitHub.
      • It has a high level of customization.
      • It highlights its stability.
      • It has frequent updates .
    • Firefox OS:
      • It was developed by Mozilla Corporation, with the support of several companies and the work garlic of volunteers.
      • It is in disuse, with its latest stable version released in 2015.
      • It is written in HTML5, JavaScript, CSS and C ++.
      • Its core is Linux.
      • Supports ARM architecture for phones.
      • Includes several licenses, such as MPL.
      • Database with IndexedDB storage (it worked with SQLite for for a while).
      • Use your own browser, Firefox, by default.
      • The architecture includes Gonk (Linux kernel and abstraction layer), Gecko (environment) and Gaia (interface) .
    • Symbian OS:
      • It belongs to Nokia.
      • The development model is software owner.
      • It is deprecated, dating its latest stable version of 2012.
      • It has a micronucleus.
      • It uses its own package management system, Symbian Nokia Packet Service.
      • It has an EPL license.

    For smart watches (smartwatch)

    In effect, smartwatches also require an OS to make them work and offer us their functionalities.

    • Android Wear OS:
      • Programmed in Java, HTML, JavaScript and CSS.
      • Provides access to source code and issues.
    • WachOS:
      • The clock operating system for Apple’s Apple Watch.
      • Developed by Apple Inc.
      • Launched in 2015.
      • It has WatchKit API.
    • WearOS:
      • It is based on Android.
      • Released in 2014.
      • Compatible with all weareables.
    • OpenWatch:
      • It is a support package for developers to create flexible systems, competitors of proprietary software.
      • Open source.
      • Just released by Blocks.
    • Tizen:
      • Competitor by Samsung.
      • It is used in watches of this brand.

    For smart TVs (Smart TV)

    principales sistemas operativos para smartTVs

    SmartTVs are now a reality and, of course, they need operating systems to work. The main ones are:

    • Android TV:
      • Powered by Google.
      • Based on the Linux kernel.
      • Specific TV design and box tvs.
      • Includes personal assistant.
      • Google Chromecast functionality integrated as Google Cast.
      • Implemented directly or as a base (at some level) of your OS on Sony, Sharp, Samsung, Panasonic and TCL TVs.
    • webOS:
      • It is based on Linux.
      • >

      • With multitasking design.
      • The most secure, certified.
      • It’s quite fast.
      • Various customization options.
      • Developed in JavaScript, HTML5 and CSS.
      • Includes LG Store, its own app store.
      • It is updated from the cloud and via USB.
      • Integrated only on LG smart TVs.
    • Tizen:
      • It’s mobile.
      • It is based on Linux, with a monolithic core.
      • It has a mixed development model.
      • Control by vo z.
      • Nothing invasive interface (Smart Hub).
      • Simplified interaction.
      • Unmatched in terms of connectivity possibilities.
      • Wide degree of customization.
      • Automatic updates.
      • Quite insecure.
      • Compatible with Android applications.
    • Firefox OS or Panasonic OS:
      • We found it on Panasonic TVs.
      • It’s mobile.
      • Open source.
      • Development in JavaScript, CSS and HTML5.
      • It is quite powerful.
      • Very good support for consulting web pages.
      • My interface Customizable home screen with multi-user.
    • Vidaa U:
      • The operating system of Hisense TVs.
      • A very fast boot.

    • Update automatically.
    • Maximum flexibility of its interface.
    • Opera Store application store.
    • Opera browser included.

    Types of processing in operating systems

    We find six types of processing that are not exclusive, the same OS performs one or more of these:

    • BATCH: Only one program is executed at a time and is completely done. The data it uses cannot be modified during the process.
    • Interactive . The data in use can be modified and new ones included.
    • TEAM-SHARING: They share the equipment among several users, working on priorities in a staggered system.
    • Multitasking: Several processes are executed at the same time, creating a staggered system that prioritizes tasks.
    • Real time: This is able to monitor affecting inputs for processes.
    • Multiprocessing: The team has more than one processor to handle the processes.

    FAQ: Frequently asked questions about an operating system

    Finally, let’s look at some aspects that make up the bulk of frequently asked questions about operating systems that we often have.

    What is the most used OS on computers?

    Since its launch, the operating system that we see the most, if we consider the total number of computers on the planet, regardless of the use we give them, is Windows, with Windows 7 at the top and followed by the versions 10 and 8.1 . These three versions already make up more than 80% of the total OS installed and in use today.

    Then we have the latest version of MacOS and Windows XP , with percentages that almost reach 5% each . Another 5% is covered by the two previous versions of MacOS and Linux . The remaining installed OS (other versions of Windows, Mac OS, Linux distributions and others) make up the remaining, less than 5%.

    What is the operating system most used in mobile devices ?

    Again, we have one winner per win, Android in this case. IOS follows. Both make up 99% of the OSs installed on mobile devices. With tiny percentages are followed by Windows Phone, BlackBerry 6 and Symbian .

    Can you have more than one operating system installed in a computer?

    Indeed. Depending on your main OS, you can:

    • Install a second OS with the same importance , being able to run one or the other when you start your computer at your convenience.
    • Install a second operating system that starts in a window, within your main OS , as if it were another program.

    How do I know what OS I have installed on my computer?

    In general, system startup involves the display of various screens, including a in specific that shows our operating system, with only its logo as with its name and even with the version of the OS executed at the time. This varies, of course, from the software in question but it would be odd that when you start your computer you do not find a screen that tells you, at least, the base OS.

    In any case, if you want to find your type of OS and its version, you can do so by accessing the system information.

    Going live, with a Mac:

    On a PC:

    We take Windows for granted.

    In the case of Linux:

    For the rest of the operating systems, the base is the same, find the system information folder , but, of course, the way to access it depends, in turn, on the same , so it is different in each case. Surely you better than anyone know how to move between menus and access “Control Panel”, “Equipment”, “System” or the equivalent option .

    What is the best operating system?

    There is no better operating system than another . As you have seen in their characteristics, they share some and differ in others. Therefore, we can say that one OS will be better than another to cover one or the other needs. Thus, you will have to consider exactly what you are looking for in order to determine which one is best for you.