1. What is an operating system?
An operating system is the core software that allows a computer to run as an useful device. It manages the hardware, the user interface and all other software running on the computer.
Without an operating system, a computer is just a collection of components heating up the room as no-one would be able to make any practical use of the machine.
A large number of operating systems have been developed over the years; each designed with a certain kind of computer in mind. For instance:
- Windows or Linux - for personal computers
- MacOS, iOS- for Macs and iPhone and iPad
- Unix - for mainframes
- Symbian, Android - for mobile phones
Although these operating systems have been developed to work with very different types of computers, they all share a number of common functions:
- Providing a user interface
- Managing the computer's memory
- Managing the hardware