Question Manraj Computing & ICT

The Evolution of Computer Operating Systems

How Have Operating Systems Evolved as Technologies Have Emerged Past and Present?

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Answer Expert #27341

Computer operating systems provide a set of functions needed and used by most application programs on a computer, and the links needed to control and synchronise computer hardware. The first computers had no operating system and could only run a single program at a time. As the complexity of hardware and application programs grew, operating systems eventually became a necessity for everyday use. Originally, operating systems were designed to run on a specific mainframe computer. These systems had direct control over the hardware but due to their custom nature, could not be used on other mainframes. In 1968, IBM introduced the idea of virtualisation and with it gave way to a whole new era for operating systems. Instead of running directly on the hardware itself, operating systems would run under the control of a piece of software called hypervisor. This technological breakthrough allowed for the development of now well known Linux, Windows and OS X, systems that can potentially run on any type of machine. Over the years, operating systems had to be adjusted to suit the ever-growing needs of more powerful machines. Beginning in the mid-1970s, a new class of small computers came into the marketplace. The first of their class were the 8-bit home computers, which would eventually be complemented by more powerful personal computers. On a seperate note, the development of videogame and mobile technologies created the need for special operating systems that could run on these platforms. These “new” systems were merely adapted versions of mainstream systems designed for PCs. For example, the well-known Xbox game console runs a modified version of Microsoft Windows in the background, while the iPhone runs iOS, which like OS X, is based on the Unix-like Darwin.