The basic functions of the Operating System are to manage the resources of the computer, coordinate the hardware and organize files and directories on the storage devices of our computer.
Some more concrete things that an Operating System can do are:
– The operating system is the only great piece of software that runs the programs and takes care of everything else. For example, the operating system controls the files and other resources that these programs can access once they are executed.
– When we have multiple programs that can be run at the same time, the operating system determines which applications should be run in what order and how long.
– Manages the exchange of internal memory between multiple applications.
– It deals with the input and output of data to and from connected hardware devices, such as hard drives, printers, communication ports, keyboard, etc.
– Send messages to each application or user (or a system operator) about the operating status and errors that may have occurred.
– On computers that can provide parallel processing, an operating system can handle how to divide the program so that it runs on more than one processor at a time.
An example: when an application wants to print something, it delivers that task to the operating system. The operating system sends the instructions to the printer, using the printer drivers to send the correct signals. The application you are printing does not have to worry about which printer you have to print or understand how that printer works. The operating system handles all the details.
Another Example: When the OS runs a game, for example the Minecraft, runs it on an operating system, which has our computer.
The game, in this case Minecraft, does not have to know exactly how each different hardware component that our PC has works. What Minecraft does is use a variety of functions of the operating system, and the operating system translates them into instructions for handling our hardware. This saves Minecraft developers, and all other programs running on an operating system, many problems.
Parts of an Operating System
The operating system consists of many components or parts and many different features. The characteristics that are defined as part of the operating system vary with each operating system. However, the three parts of the OS most easily defined and used by all OS are:
– Kernel: it is the OS program that we could say is the heart of your operating system, for that reason it is also called the “core” of the OS. Kernel is the first thing to load when the OS boots and provides basic level control over all hardware devices on the computer. The main functions include reading data from memory and writing data into memory, processing execution orders, determining how devices such as the monitor, keyboard and mouse work, how they receive and send data, and how to interpret data received from networks.
The kernel or Kernel generally runs in an isolated area to prevent other computer software from manipulating it. The operating system kernel is very important, but it is only part of the operating system.
– User interface: this component allows interaction with the user, which can occur through graphic icons and a desktop or through a command line.
– Application programming interfaces: this component allows application developers to write modular code (by parts).
Linux is just a kernel. However, Linux is often called the operating system. Android is also called the operating system and is built around the Linux kernel. Linux distributions such as Ubuntu take the Linux kernel and add additional software. They are also known as operating systems.