As we learned in classfrom Dr. Ying Liu, there is no universally accepted definition for what anoperating system is. According to Dr. Paul Mullins from Slippery RockUniversity, “An operating system (OS) is a software, that manages computerhardware resources, runs other programs, and provides common services for theuser and application software” (“5.
2 Software”). This goes hand in had withwhat Dr. Liu taught in class with his PowerPoint lectures stating that anoperating system is “A program that acts as an intermediary between a user of a computerand the computer hardware”.
It is important tocomprehend that the operating system is one of the most important aspects of acomputer. They can be found on any devices with a computer, cell phones, videogame consoles, servers, and etcetera (Agarwal, 2017, p.60).
Now we may findourselves asking the question, “Why do operating systems exist? What is theirpurpose?” Easily put, the goals of an operating system are to “Execute user programs andmake solving user problems easier, Make the computer system convenient to use,and to ensure that computer hardware is being used efficiently” (Silberschatz,Galvin, Gagne, 2010, p.3). The operating system isone of the four components that make up a computer system. It controls andcoordinates the use of hardware among applications and users; it is for thesereasons that it can be seen as a resource allocator and a control program (Silberschatz,Galvin, Gagne, 2010, p.
5). Silberschatz, Galvin, and Gagne’s Operating System Concepts with Java,tells readers that the operating system as a resource allocator decides betweenconflicting requests and manages all resources to ensure fair and efficientuse. The text also states that as a control program the operating system is incharge of executing programs in order to avoid errors and computer misuse.Though operating systems may have similar uses, some may work differently.Some of the worlds most popular and modern OS’s-OS is just ashorter way of saying operating system in the technology industry- include, butare not limited to, Windows, Mac OS, and Linux.
For many years now, these threeoperating systems have been the most popular and most debated. As we all know,everything has advantages and disadvantages and that’s what people compare themon. The main talking points for determining the most efficient-or thebest-operating system include system features, stability, risk, price,availability, and diversity. The next question, therefore, is which one is thebest?Without a doubt the most popular operating system is Windows.Microsoft Corporation developed Windows in 1985 to run on personal computers. Accordingto Encyclopedia Britannica, Windows-which is commonly referred to as the “PC”-featuredthe first graphical user interface (GUI).
GlobalStats’s StatCounter claims thatWindows currently holds 82.96% of the operating system market share-this makesit number one in its category with a substantial lead.Windows is highly recognized for its amazingfeatures, high adaptability, economical, and stable characteristics. Thoughdebatable, Windows is probably the most user-friendly operating system today.Aside from being easy to use, it has the largest hardware support, and thelargest amount of software available for it. But, as previously mentioned allpositives have negative, and so does Windows.
Windows can sometimes be anuisance; with being the most popular, you are also the most popular withproblems that arise. As a Windows owner/user, one has to ensure that thecomputer is secure and do maintenance on it. Windows is the operating systemthat is most prone to malware, spyware, viruses, and etcetera. Anther one ofthe negative aspects of Windows is that users may sometimes find that it isslow or it lags.
This is because the software itself is “heavy” and requires alot of memory, processor, and disk space. In order to speed up the systems,those resources have to be upgraded and that involves money, which makes theoverall operating system expensive. However, users work around these negativeaspects and focus more on the positives because it is a highly effectiveoperating system (“Windows vs. Mac OS X vs. Linux: The Operating SystemBattle”, Ukshini).After Windows, the operating system with the mostmarket share is Mac OS-approximately 12.
98% according to StatCounter. The MacOS, a Unix based operating system, was developed to run on Macintosh computersby the owners-Apple Incorporated. The Mac OS derived from Steve Jobs’technological developments, and is described by Apple Incorporated’s developersas: “a modern operating system thatcombines the power and stability of UNIX-based operating systems with thesimplicity and elegance of the Macintosh. For years, power users and developershave recognized the strengths of UNIX and its offshoots.
While UNIX-basedoperating systems are indispensable to developers and power users, consumershave rarely been able to enjoy their benefits because of the perceivedcomplexity. Instead consumers have lived with a generation of desktop computersthat could only hope to achieve the strengths that UNIX-based operating systemshave had from the beginning” (“Porting UNIX/Linux Applications to OS X”, 2012).Apple developersclaim that a computer running Mac OS and do everything and even more than anyother desktop computer. Well, the market seems to disagree-or maybe it is onlybecause of the high price point that Apple Inc. has on Macintosh computers. UnlikeWindows, Mac OS has limited hardware support, which means that it can only berun-legally-on Apple devices. This is a disadvantage that has advantages withinit; because of this disadvantage, Apple computers are less prone to viruses andmalware because it is built entirely different than Windows (“Windows vs.
Mac OS X vs. Linux: The Operating System Battle”, Ukshini). Also if less people are able to gettheir hands on these, hackers are less prone to want to attack them as “therenot enough ‘food’ there.” But besidesbeing an exclusive, pricy, and one of the least risky operating systems, theMac OS is also very stable as it requires less processing power making it fastand efficient when working with software application that is developed for it.The third mostpopular operating system is Linux. Linux is a “Unix-like” operating system thatwas created by in 1991 by Linus Torvalds. The inspiration for making a freeoperating system, according to Glyn Moody- one of the policy editors for ArsTechnica, “who has been writing about the Internet, free software, copyright,patents and digital rights for over 20 years”- came from Torvalds inability toafford a computer.
Torvalds goal was to make a completely free operating systemthat would meet the wanted user requirements. Although Linus Torvalds createdLinux, it is an open-source system that is backed by various free contributionsmade by developers.Although Linuxis referred to as an operating system, it is important to comprehend that it isa kernel. A kernel is “The one program running at alltimes on the computer…provides things suchas network communication, file access, and process management. The kernel isthere to make accessing hardware easier to the user (and in some casesprotecting the hardware from the user” (Silberschatz, Galvin, Gagne,2010, p.6).Thus, in essence, the kernel is one of the components of an operating system.
This being said, Linux only becomes a full operating system once we enhance itwith one of the contributions that have been made by developers that are knownas “distributions” or “distros”. Linux has many distributions such as Arch,Ubuntu, Tails, and the list goes on. This being said, Linux is similar to theMac OS in the sense that it doesn’t have a wide variety of softwareapplications or hardware support, they have to be made to be specificallycompatible with it. Similarly, Linux is prone to less vulnerabilities, which isalways a good thing.
However, Linux only hold 1.62% of the market share andthis is due to the fact that it is one of the most complicated operating systemsand requires much knowledge of using systems and tampering with them. Thesesystems are not typically sold, but, instead, are built by those who have adeep interest in computers, or developers. Withouta doubt, Windows, Mac OS, and Linux are among the most popular operatingsystems today.
They all have similar functionalities, but implement indifferent ways. Depending on where you go, you might see different systemsbeing used or implemented. The important factors to consider when looking at themare price, hardware support, software availability, vulnerabilities or risks, andstability. As previously stated, the least risky would be Mac OS and Linux,however they do not have as much hardware or software compatibility as Windows.
Yet, Windows is a very effective operating system but it can sometimes be slowand upgrading its components can get costly-but Mac OS will still besignificantly more expensive. On the other hand, Linux is free but it may notdo all the work that one needs to get done. At the end of the day, different peoplehave different needs and it is a good thing that there are options from whichto choose from-all which come with their own set of tradeoffs.