An operating system is the most important software which runs on a computer. It controls the computer's memory, processes and all software and hardware. Several computer programs normally run at the same time, all of which need to access the computer's processor (CPU), memory, and storage. It is the operating system that is responsible for coordinating all this and enabling all applications to get what they need.
The kernel in an operating system is the part of the system that directly controls the hardware.
The other two main parts to an operating system are:
Basic applications - For tasks such as file management, system configuration and networking
User interface - Which gives access to the operating system's functions.
In some cases, including in the case of MacOS and Windows, the graphical user interface is considered to be part of the operating system. In other cases, as in the case of Linux, it is possible to choose from alternative graphical shells for the same operating system.
Operating systems usually come pre-installed on all computers. Most people use the operating system that comes with their computer, but it is also possible to upgrade or even change the operating system. The three most common operating systems for personal computers are Microsoft Windows, Mac OS X and Linux.
A distinction is made between operating systems for general computers such as PCs and servers, and operating systems for specialised equipment such as routers and switches. General operating systems are categorised according to whether they will primarily be used on PCs, servers or mobile devices, such as tablets and smartphones.
Operating systems were developed to run on desktops and laptops. As a result, mobile devices such as mobile phones, tablets and MP3 players are different from desktops and laptops. Mobile devices use operating systems which are designed specifically for them. Examples of mobile operating systems are Apple iOS and Google Android.
The choice of operating system determines the range of applications that can be run on a computer. The functional area of general operating systems has expanded over time, and they have now taken over many tasks that were previously left to dedicated applications. Examples include networking tasks and the displaying of images.
Examples of some operating systems are: Linux, Windows XP, Windows NT, DOS, Unix, Windows 10, Mac OS, ubuntu, Solaris.
Operating system and AI
Recently, Microsoft has announced plans to add Chat GPT, the best-known large language model, into their operating system to offer artificial intelligence capabilities for Windows 10 and Windows 11 through the PowerToys platform. The integration will let users ask questions directly from the desktop and interact with the language model in different ways.
We do not work directly with operating systems, but we have plenty of experience of them. We primarily manage Linux and Windows for our customers by, for example, implementing upgrades and applying patches (program codes to correct bugs or add new functionality).