Introduction Structure Functions and Characteristics of Operating System

Introduction Structure Functions and Characteristics of Operating System

An Operating System is a collection of programs and utilities. It acts as the interface between the user and the computer. It creates a user-friendly environment. For example, copying files from one folder to another.

Another function of the Operating System is resource management. The OS collects all the resources in the network environment and allocates the resources to requesting processes in an efficient manner.

Structure of Operating System

The structure of an operating system consists of four layers. These are:

  1. Hardware
  2. Software
  3. System program
  4. Application programs

The below table shows the parts included in each layer:

LayerParts include
HardwareCPU, main memory, Input/output devices, secondary storage, etc.
SoftwareProcess management routines, memory management routines, and file management routines.
System programCompilers, assemblers, linkers, etc.
Application programsDependent on users e.g MS Word, Photoshop, etc.

Operating System Functions

The operating system provides a user-friendly environment for the creation and execution of programs and provides services to the users. The main functions of operating systems are:

  • Program Creation: The operating system provides editors, and debuggers, to assist the programmer in creating programs.
  • Program Execution: A number of tasks are required to execute a program, The tasks include instructions, and data must be loaded into main memory, Input/output devices and files must be initialized, and other resources must be prepared. The operating systems handle these tasks for the user.
  • I/O Operations: A running program may require the input and output device. A user program cannot execute I/O operations directly, the operating system must provide some means.
  • Error Detection: The operating system detects the different types of errors and should take the appropriate action. The errors include memory error, power error, printer out of paper, and illegal instructions in the program(Division by zero, write to overflow).
  • Resource Allocation: The operating system collects all the resources in the network environment or a system and grants these resources to the requested process. The operating system manages many different types of resources. The resources include CPU cycle, main memory, I/O device, file storage, and so on.
  • Accounting: The operating system can keep the task of which users use how much and what kind of computer resources. This record is useful to improve computing services.
  • Protection: The operating system provides the security mechanism to protect against the unauthorized use of files in the network environment.

Characteristics of Modern Operating System

The characteristics of the modern operating system include:

  • Object-Oriented Design:
    An object-oriented operating system is an operating system that uses object-oriented design principles.
  • Multi-threading:
    An application or program is divided into a number of smaller tasks, these tasks are executed by the processor concurrently (at a time). These smaller tasks are called threads. A thread is a lightweight process and dispatchable unit of work.
    A thread has some of the characteristics of a process, but the difference is several threads share the same memory space, but the process doesn’t share the memory space. For example, when we type a document in MS Word, typed text can be formatted automatically, and spelling checked automatically, these individual tasks are called threads.
  • Symmetric Multiprocessing:
    If a computer has more than one processor, these processors can share the same memory, data path, and I/O facilities, and the processors share the same job for execution, then the system is called symmetric multiprocessing(SMP).
  • Distributed Operating System:
    A distributed operating system is an operating system that runs on a network of computers. The operating systems and memory files are shared by the number of users in the same network from the server.
  • Microkernel Architecture:
    A microkernel is a minimal operating system that performs only the essential functions of an operating system. System processes perform all other operating system functions. Here the system process means servers. A system that contains the servers is called a client-server model.

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