Operating Systems And Application Software Differences Computer Science Essay

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In this research, it will tackle two things. First, what is the difference between operation system and application system? How do they work? Are they working without each other? Moreover, the second is about the various categories of computer. How do all these things become important in the field of Information Technology?

Information Technology (IT) is the acquisition, processing, storage and dissemination of vocal, pictorial, textual and numerical information by a microelectronics-based combination of computing and telecommunications. IT is the area of managing technology and spans wide variety of areas that include but are not limited to things such as processes, computer software, information systems, computer hardware, programming languages, and data constructs.


Question 1

Differentiate between Operation System and Application Software? How are they different from each other? Describe and explain in detail.

Operating System, or OS, is a software program that enables the computer hardware to communicate and operate with the computer software. Without a computer operating system, a computer would be useless.[1]

As computers have progressed and developed so have the types of operating systems. Operating systems can be categorized by technology, ownership, licensing, working state, usage, and by many other characteristics. In practice, many of these groupings may overlap.

The Different Types of Operating System

Batch Processing Operating System

In a batch processing operating system interaction between the user and processor is limited or there is no interaction at all during the execution of work. Data and programs that need to be processed are bundled and collected as a ‘batch’ and executed together.

Batch processing operating systems are ideal in situations where:

- There are large amounts of data to be processed.

- Similar data needs to be processed.

- Similar processing is involved when executing the data.

The system is capable of identifying times when the processor is idle at which time ‘batches’ maybe processed. Processing is all performed automatically without any user intervention.

Real-time Operating System

A real-time operating system processes inputs simultaneously, fast enough to affect the next input or process. Real-time systems are usually used to control complex systems that require a lot of processing like machinery and industrial systems.

Single User Operating System

A single user OS as the name suggests is designed for one user to effectively uses a computer at a time.

Multi-Tasking Operating System

In this type of OS several applications maybe simultaneously loaded and used in the memory. While the processor handles only one application at a particular time it is capable of switching between the applications effectively to apparently simultaneously execute each application. This type of operating system is seen everywhere today and is the most common type of OS, the Windows operating system would be an example.

Multi-User Operating System

This type of OS allows multiple users to simultaneously use the system, while here as well, the processor splits its resources and handles one user at a time, the speed and efficiency at which it does this makes it apparent that users are simultaneously using the system, some network systems utilize this kind of operating system.

Distributed Operating System

In a distributed system, software and data maybe distributed around the system, programs and files maybe stored on different storage devices which are located in different geographical locations and maybe accessed from different computer terminals.

Example of Operating Systems

Figure 1.1

Windows: [Refer to Figure 1.1] Windows is the popular Microsoft brand preferred by most personal users. This system has come a long way from version 1.0 all the way up to the new Vista and Windows 7. Although Windows has made strides in regard to security, it has a reputation for being one of the most vulnerable systems.

Figure 1.2

Unix/Linux: [Refer to figure 1.2] The Unix operating system has been around for years, and it is well known for its stability. Unix is often used more as a server than a workstation. Linux was based on the Unix system, with the source code being a part of GNU open-source project. Both systems are very secure yet far more complex than Windows.

Figure 1.3

Macintosh: [Refer to figure 1.3] Recent versions of the Macintosh operating system, including the Mac OS X, follow the secure architecture of Unix. Systems developed by Apple are efficient and easy to use, but can only function on Apple branded hardware.

Application software needs Operating System to run the software. It helps to solve problems in the real world. Examples include enterprise software, accounting software, office suites, graphics software, and media players.

An Application, or Application Program, is a software program that runs on your computer. Web browsers, e-mail programs, word processors, games, and utilities are all applications.[2] The word "application" is used because each program has a specific application for the user. For example, a word processor can help a student create a research paper, while a video game can prevent the student from getting the paper done.

Types of Application Software

Desktop Publishing software - Use this software to make signs, banners, greeting cards, illustrative worksheets, newsletters, etc.

Adobe PageMaker, MS Word, MS Publisher, AppleWorks, MS Works, Quark Express.

Spreadsheet software - Use this kind of tool to compute number-intensive problems such as budgeting, forecasting, etc. A spreadsheet will plot nice graphs very easily.

MS Excel, Quattro Pro, Lotus 1-2-3, MS Works, AppleWorks.

Database software - Use this software to store data such as address, membership and other text information. A database can be used to easily sort and organize records.

MS Access, Filemaker Pro, AppleWorks, MS Works.

Presentation software - Use this software to create multimedia stacks of cards/screens that can effectively present a lesson or a sales pitch. The user often clicks on buttons to advance to the next screen in a sequence.

MS PowerPoint, AppleWorks (slideshows), HyperStudio, Flash, Director, HyperCard, Digital Chisel, SuperCard, Corel Envoy.

Internet Browsers - This software allows one to surf the Web. Often they can read email and create Web pages too.

Netscape Navigator (or Netscape Communicator), MS Internet Explorer, AOL Browser....

Email programs - These programs send and receive email.

Netscape Messenger (part of Netscape Communicator), MS Outlook Express, MS Outlook, Eudora, AOL browser (has email built in).

Graphics Programs (pixel-based) - This software allows one to touch up photographs and create graphics from scratch.

Adobe Photoshop, Paint Shop Pro, AppleWorks, MS Works, MS Paint (comes free on Windows PC's), Painter.

Graphics Programs (vector-based) - This software creates graphics that are similar to illustrations or cartoon drawings.

Adobe Illustrator, Corel Draw, AppleWorks, MS Works, MS Word.

Communications software - This software allows two computers with modems to communicate through audio, video, and/or chat-based means.

MS NetMeeting, AOL Instant Messenger, IRC, IC

Difference of Operating System and Application Software

Operating System

Application Software

Can work without application software

Unable to run without Operating system

Manages and controls computer hardware

Programs that enable the end-user to perform specific, productive tasks

Can interact between the user and processor

Anything the user installs or downloads to their computer

Operating system is stored on non-volatile memory such as integrated circuits

Application software is a subclass of computer software that employs the capabilities of a computer directly and thoroughly to a task

It has graphical user interface (GUI) to control the computer

Not all application software is compatible to operating system

Question 2

List and explain various categories of computers that are available today.

There are five different types and categories of computers that are available today- a personal computer, server, minicomputer, mainframe, and a supercomputer. Each has its own specific usage.

Personal computer (PC)

Desktop Computer Figure 2.1

A Personal computer may be a desktop computer, a laptop, a tablet PC, or a handheld PC (also called a palmtop). The most common microprocessors in personal computers are x86-compatible CPUs. [3]

Personal computers may be connected to a local area network (LAN), either by a cable or a wireless connection. It could also connect to internet, chat with your love ones or do research. Desktop computers are commonly the computers that we use at home, generally for individuals; this is the most common type of computer. [Refer to figure2.1] This is more convenient for gaming rather than laptop because it has huge memory.

Laptop Figure 2.1.1

Laptop computers, also known as notebooks, are portable computers that you can take with you and use in different environments. They include a screen, keyboard, and a trackpad or trackball, which serves as the mouse. Because laptops are meant to be used on the go, they have a battery which allows them to operate without being plugged into a power outlet. Laptops also include a power adapter that allows them to use power from an outlet and recharges the battery. [Refer to figure 2.1.1]. The battery capacity, sound quality and lack of visibility when used outdoors are the weaknesses of the mini notebooks.

In addition, Personal computer is more on advantage because it makes our work easier and faster. The only disadvantage of Personal Computer is when you get addicted to it.


Figure 2.2

Server is used in making programs and softwares available to its client computers. It is not designed to be used directly by a user.[Refer to figure 2.2] Through this type of computer, data and other computer programs are shared to a network (or connected computers), making data available for people who are connected and linked. There are many different types of servers. Servers provide essential services across a network, either to private users inside a large organization or to public users via the Internet. The advantages of Server are first, it Centralised Resources all data stored in one location and easier to backup files and data. It is also efficient for software optimized for multiple users. Furthermore, one machine can secure entire network. The disadvantages of server are if the server goes down, it takes part or the whole network with it. It is also more expensive to install and needs to be maintained by staff with high IT skill. For example of server:

File server: a computer and storage device dedicated to storing files. Any user on the network can store files on the server.

Print server: a computer that manages one or more printers, and a network server is a computer that manages network traffic.

Database server: a computer system that processes database queries


Figure 2.3

Minicomputer is a multi-user system. [Refer to figure 2.3]. This type of computer is usually used simultaneously in small organizations by using remote terminals or personal computers. In size and power, minicomputers lay between microcomputer and mainframes. In like manner, the minicomputer has morphed into a server that is ideal for smaller and more localized networks. It is capable of supporting from 4 to about 200 users simultaneously at a lower cost. The disadvantage of the minicomputers is that they are large and bulky.


Figure 2.4

Mainframe is used in large organizations. It is a very powerful computer that is used by multi-users. They can handle large data processing jobs. [Refer to figure 2.4] It is capable of supporting hundreds, or even thousands, of user simultaneously. In some ways, mainframes are more powerful than supercomputers because they support more simultaneous programs. The weakness of Mainframe is cost of hardware and operating system is expensive.


Figure 2.5

Supercomputers are even more fast computers (most powerful) that are specifically intended to help in processing huge amounts of scientific data and mathematical calculations. This type of computer is the most expensive. [Refer to figure 2.5] Supercomputers can execute a single program faster than a mainframe. The disadvantages are first; it can overheat due to its large size, so it has a shorter lifetime. It is also more time consuming for one component to interact with another component of the machine. Moreover, cannot operate without a proper climate.


I therefore conclude that operation system runs on computer even without application software. There are many different types of Operating system and has their own advantage and disadvantages. Moreover, Application Software needs operation system to run itself. On the other hand, specifically, each category has its own usage and significance. Those computers are designed to meet specific needs and to help people in making their work easier to handle.

The main objective of this research is to know better about the computer, not just how to use it, also how it does works. In this research it shows the advantages and disadvantages of each group and their custom.