Operating system is a part of the computing systems that manages all of hardware and software. However, computing systems such as microware, which carries out a particular task do not have operating system.
The early operating systems such as Atlas batch systems makes it very difficult to add new feature or even modify existing ones due to it being very large and complex thus it's not easy to maintain and time consuming for a programmer to make any changes to the system.
The future development of the operating systems demands one with low complexity and high maintainability. This will satisfy both community users as well as businesses. Object oriented design was introduced to overcome limitations of earlier operating systems which was difficult and time consuming to maintain or even enhance existing features.
What is an operating system?
Operating system is defined by Flynn et al. in a simplest form as the "part of the computing systems that manages all of hardware and all of the software"3. However, not all computing systems have operating system. Some of the computers do not have operating systems such as microwave, as it was designed to perform only one activity that is a simple and straight forward expected input i.e. a keypad and pre-set control buttons that needed for a microwave to be operated and does not need a changing hardware to control. Any computer that operates with a single hard wired program does not need operating system and adding one will increase significant cost and complexity which is not required8. In addition, other computing devices which allow users to interact with it in a different ways or have a range of purposes then operating system have to be in that computing device5.
Types of Operating Systems
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There are five different types of operating systems for large of small computers which distinguished by the time taken to respond and the way in which data in entered into the systems. The five types of operating systems which will be explained in a brief detail below are batch, interactive, real-time, hybrid and embedded systems3.
Batch Systems: these are earliest computers which used to rely on input from punched cards or tape and do not need user interaction. The modern batch systems are not limited to cards or tapes but still the system processes the entire input as a serial batch3. An example of batch systems is Atlas operating system5. Although, in today's modern technology one can hardly find a system that is limited to batch programs3 but in many modern operating systems there are basic features of Atlas operating systems5.
Interactive systems: These are faster than batch systems. They were introduced to meet demand of users for faster systems for software programs debugging. There was a need for an operating system which allows users to interact with the system directly. For example, XDS-940 operating system used paging memory management5.
Real time systems: These are even faster than batch and interactive systems and are used in real time critical environments where the immediate process of data is need due to the effect on a decision making process.
Hybrid systems: Many large computer systems are hybrids, as this type of operating system uses a combined system of batch and interactive to provide fast response when running batch programs and also allows users to interact with it.
Embedded systems: These are used to add features and capabilities of other computers and are designed to perform few or only one function. In today's modern technology many computing devices have embedded system control.
The first generation computers goes back in 1940s were each one of them were unique and "the size of classroom"3. Operating system was only needed for a few professionals such as mathematician, scientist or military personnel for giving instructions on how to perform certain requested tasks.
As the time went on, new operating systems were introduced to satisfy the need of users demand particularly for multimedia applications, Internet and web access and also for the developments of hardware devices and software application 1, 3.
Always on Time
Marked to Standard
The design of early operating systems was complete in a single unit which had a very large kernel which includes all functions such as the allocation of memory and device, process scheduling and networking. This type of design of the operating systems makes it difficult for the programmers to add new features or modify existing ones to the operating systems. Therefore, it is time consuming and complex task for maintenance and improvement of a hardware or software application3.
The most recent design of kernel makes it easy to add new features or modify the existing ones as it has been restricted to only few essential features such as the allocation of memory while other features are treated as a regular application.
Object oriented design was introduced to overcome this limitation. The object oriented design approach allows the programmer to work efficiently on object to add new features and modify existing ones of an operation system without disrupting the integrity of rest the system 3, 6, 8.
The series of UNIX releases have played an important role of the development of operating systems. The latest UNIX release is Solaris 9 which provides more advance features such as multithreaded kernel and object oriented interface to file systems. Linux which is free software that provide a stable, quality, highly modular and very easy to configure which increase optimal performance8.
In today's modern technology demands for better and stable operating systems with level of maintainability and low complexity.