An operating system, also known as an OS, is an application that links the computer hardware to a user-friendly interface and allows its users to install and run various software applications.
The first few operating systems were developed back in 1950, even though they didn’t exist in their modern form until 1960. Back then, a computer couldn’t run more than an application at the time.
At first, companies have designed a dedicated operating system for each one of their computers. During the 1960s, IBM has built an OS that was able to run on their entire product line.
Most modern OSs make use of time sharing; an internal clock allows multiple threads to run in parallel, and thus execute several applications at the same time. The active applications called various system functions, or are paused by the operating system, which allocates more resources to vital apps.
Smartphones, tablets, computers, game consoles and similar devices make use of an OS. Top desktop operating systems include Microsoft Windows, Apple OS X and Linux. Top mobile operating systems include Android and iOS.
Single user OSs lack the ability of distinguishing between users. On the other hand, multiuser operating systems are able to allocate various system resources to each user: apps, storage space, and so on.
Embedded operating systems are built into computer chips, and are usually designed for applications that don’t need many resources to run. These OSs are very efficient, allowing the creation of tiny devices that are fast and don’t use a lot of power.
An early operating system was CP/M, which has served as an inspiration source for Microsoft’s MS–DOS. Apple was the first company to include an attractive graphical user interface in its OS. A few years later, Microsoft built its own graphical OS interface – Windows 3.1, which was running it on top of MS-DOS.
Later on, Richard Stallman developed the GNU project, with the goal of creating a 100% free operating system. Linus Torvalds, a finish computer science student, announced the Linux kernel in 1991. His project merged with the GNU kernel, leading to the creation of the Linux operating system.
Here’s the 2016 desktop OS market share, according to Data Alliance’s researchers.
Google Chrome OS is a recent operating system that was developed by Google and is based on Linux. The OS has a built-in file manager, media player, and several other apps. Its main goal is to make use of online applications, though.
Microsoft Windows targets computers based on the Intel architecture. This OS was first released in 1985. The latest version is Windows 10, and it is able to run on 32 and 64 bits CPUs, including 32-bit arm microprocessors.
Apple’s OS X is the successor of Mac OS, the company’s proprietary operating system, which has been used as a primary OS for over 20 years.
The Linux OS has come a long way during the past decade. Several famous distributions have died, and some of the newcomers are now thriving. Read on to find out what are the best destroyers in 2016.
SUSE, the makers of openSUSE, have released their first distribution only 12 months after Linux was invented. This explains their distro’s popularity and success. SUSE has lost some of its appeal in the last one is you few years, but now, with the release of Tumbleweed, the company has made an impressive comeback.
The built-in YaST control center provides quick access to everything you need using a simple, easy to use interface.
Most people, many of them Windows users, have tried Ubuntu at least once in their lives. And it’s not a surprise that they’ve done it, because this distro is very easy to install and use. In addition to this, Ubuntu runs fine on low-end hardware, so it is perfect for that ancient laptop that you were planning to throw away.
There are many desktop environments for Ubuntu: Gnome, Xubuntu and Kubuntu are only a few of the most famous flavors.
Did you know that Mac OS X is a Linux based system? If you’re looking for a similar experience, but you don’t want to be locked into Apple’s operating system, Linux Mint Cinnamon may be your best bet.
This distro has all the bells and whistles that Mac users have become accustomed to, and its stability has significantly increased during the last few years.
This Linux distribution is easily the best solution for people who want to run their own servers, but don’t want to pay a lot of money for server software. Tech support is top-notch, so you will definitely find help if you run into trouble.
Arch Linux excels in many areas, but it’s not a distro for the faint of heart. If you go this route, you will have to install all the packages on your own. This goes without saying that you are also going to learn a lot about Linux while doing it, though.
Arch is a highly customizable distro. You get the bare metal structure, and then you build everything you need above it. It’s also updated regularly, and users can choose to run stable updates or better updates, in case that they want to have access to new features as quickly as they are released.
Since Android devices are here to stay, people have also created the Arch Linux ARM distribution. As you can guess, this distribution is aimed at ARM processors and runs fine on Chromebooks, Android devices, Raspberry Pi and so on.