Operating System – Introduction and Different views of System


What is an Operating System?

An operating system is a kind of software that is designed to provide an interface between a computer user and hardware. The user working on a system cannot directly command the hardware devices to do some work i.e., suppose a user wants to use the printer to print the document he has. So, he cannot directly access the printer even if he has the file, the computer system, and the necessary resources. It has to use the operating system to connect to the hardware, which is the basic functionality of the operating system.

It can be said that the operating system provides an environment for the execution of tasks. It itself doesn’t have any specific functionality but is very essential for providing an environment. It is similar to the government which itself doesn’t perform any useful function but provides an environment for other useful programs.

What is operating system
What is an operating system

From the diagram above, we can understand a computer system contains four basic components. The hardware – consists of the CPU, basic input/output devices, and other resources that we can touch and feel, the operating system – acts as an interface between the computer hardware and the application programs, Application Programs – that are used for various specific tasks, such as text editor to perform text related operations, web browser to use the internet for searching and other operations, compiler and many more, and the Users – which is the name given to the people who interact with the computer system.

There can be multiple users in a computer system. So, the operating systems are designed in such a way that they should be efficient, or convenient.

To have a better understanding of the working of the operating system, we should understand two views of the system which are namely the user’s view and the system’s view.

User’s View

The user’s view of an operating system differs according to the number of users accessing the resources of a system simultaneously.

Many of the users sit in Infront of a PC and work on it. Like, most of us do in the computer systems at our homes, where a single user is using the resources. Such operating systems are designed in keeping mind the ease of use rather than focusing on the proper utilization of resources.

Whereas in another case a user sits at a mainframe and other users use the files and resources of the same computer at their end. In this case, the operating system is designed to make proper utilization of the resources.

In many other cases, there is a server and other users are using the files and networking kept at the server end. In this case, the operating system is designed to compromise the user’s usability and accessibility of resources.

Also, there are systems where there are no users. These include devices such as home devices and automobile systems.

System’s View

In a system’s view, an operating system can be understood as a manager that handles the requests of many different users and allocates resources such as devices, memory space, storage space, and many more. On the requests of multiple users, it will give the resources to those users from the stored place such as the mainframe according to the priority basis or the time basis.

This is the system’s view which is concerned with the operations and allocation and deallocation of system resources.

Depending on the need and functionality required, operating systems of many different kinds are available which include LINUX, UNIX, Windows, and MAC. Which differ greatly in their functionality some provide better CPU utilization, some provide a better allocation of resources, and some provide better security or ease of access. So, depending on the need, it is advised to use the operating system that best suits

So, in this article, we learned about the operating system and the two different views of it.

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