Operating System

An operating system, also called an OS, is a set of programs that make a computer work. It is an intermediary that manages the hardware of a computer to serve the rest of the application programs that run on it.

The operating system is in charge of managing the resources of the computer, such as the processor, memory, and input and output devices, so that other programs can use them in an efficient and coordinated manner.

For example, the operating system is in charge of giving an empty block of memory to each program as they are being executed. It makes sure that each program has enough space in RAM and does not overlap with the others. The operating system also makes sure that the processor is distributed among all the programs every so often, giving the impression that they are all running at the same time. When multiple programs send multiple pages to print to a single printer, the operating system takes care of sending the pages in order so they don't get mixed up and an error doesn't occur. The operating system performs a similar management when several programs want to write to permanent memory at the same time.

The operating system also provides a user interface so that users can interact with the computer and perform different tasks at the same time, such as browsing the Internet, writing documents, playing music and videos, among other things.

If the operating system did not exist, each of the applications would have to include its own interface, its own printer manager, its own memory manager and agree with all the other programs to share the resources of the same computer in an orderly manner. .

Components of an operating system

The components of an operating system have the task of making the different parts of a computer work together.

Kernel
The core of an operating system is in charge of coordinating all the resources of the computer, both the elements both hardware and software programs. It is responsible for transmitting information between all these elements of the computer in an organized way to coordinate them with each other.
Device drivers

The device drivers act as intermediaries between user applications and different computer peripherals such as graphics cards, external memories, printers, web cameras, etc. .

When we install a printer driver, all application programs of that operating system will be able to print to that printer. Early operating systems, such as MS-DOS, did not have device drivers for printers, so each application program had to add its own driver for all printers on the market. The operating system with device drivers saves resources and makes it easy to program applications.

Process management
The process management system is responsible for distributing the microprocessor time among the different programs that are running. Thanks to this manager we can have, for example, 20 programs running on the computer at the same time and it will give the impression that they are all running at the same time, even though there is only one CPU core serving all of them.
Memory management

The memory management system is responsible for reserving blocks of RAM for programs when they are going to start executing or when they need space to open a new data file.

Another function of the memory manager is to perform garbage collection. This is the name given to the task that consists of freeing from memory the blocks that are no longer being used, to make room for new programs that the user wants to execute.

Graphical user interface

The graphical user interface , also called GUI, is an operating system program in charge of presenting information on the screen and collecting the actions that the user performs with the mouse or touch screen.

This system is common to all the programs, thus achieving a homogeneous aspect for all the applications of the same operating system and simplifies the programming of the applications because they do not have to take care of representing the windows, the buttons, the scroll bar, etc. menus and other graphic elements.

Outage Management

The interrupts are signals that the peripherals send to the computer so that they are attended by it. When a computer user types a key on the keyboard, the character immediately appears on the screen. Similarly, when a user moves the mouse, the cursor immediately moves across the screen. Each keystroke and mouse movement generates an interrupt that alerts the computer to attend to the data the peripheral is sending.

Thanks to the interruptions, the computer does not have to be continually attending to each peripheral to check if they already have data ready to send.

File System

The file system is a system that controls how data is stored and retrieved from storage units such as CD-ROMs, USB sticks or hard drives. Without a file system, data stored on a storage medium would become a collection of information with no way to tell where one piece of data ends and the next begins.

Its main functions are allocating space to files, managing free space and access to saved data.

Security system
It is the system in charge of controlling the access of programs or users to system resources. This system is in charge of tasks such as checking the correct username and password to enter a system session or to install programs.
Communications
The communications management system is responsible for controlling the data networks connected to the computer. It is in charge of managing the data packets that are sent over the local wired network, the Wi-Fi network or other data networks such as Bluetooth.
System programs
They are applications that are used to manage the operating system or to find out about its status. Examples of system programs are file explorer, control panel, command console, settings app in Android, etc.

Operating system Windows

Windows is an operating system from Microsoft and is one of the most popular in the world. It is used in most desktop and laptop personal computers, with a market share of about 87% of PCs in 2020.

Its main characteristics are the following.

User interface
Windows has an intuitive graphical user interface (GUI) that is based on the use of the mouse and the keyboard, although it also allows the use of a touch screen.
Software compatibility

Windows is compatible with a wide range of software and applications. Many applications are designed specifically for Windows, making it easy for users to find and use the software they need.

The great popularity of Windows is also the reason that there are many malicious programs (malware) specialized in this operating system.

Ease of customization
Windows allows users to customize their user experience. They can customize the wallpaper, home screen, icons, and colors according to their preferences. However, non-Microsoft developers cannot access your code and cannot make changes to the operating system.
Hardware support
Windows is compatible with a wide variety of hardware, which means it works well with most computers and peripheral devices.
Video game
Windows is known to be a great operating system for gaming. Many of the world's most popular games can be played on a Windows computer.
Price
Windows has an approximate price of 145 Euros in its most basic version (Windows Home). It costs hardware manufacturers approximately 50 Euros to install a Windows system on their computers.
Versions

Currently the only version that is for sale by the Microsoft company is the Windows 11 version, although there is still a large base of computers with Windows 10 installed. Versions prior to Windows 10 are currently outdated and should be updated to avoid security issues.

Windows 11 has a total of 7 editions that are very similar to each other, although the best known are: the Home edition for home users and the Pro edition for professional users.

Operating system Android

Android is an operating system developed by the company Google and is one of the most popular among mobile devices, with a market share of 71% of smartphones and tablets in 2020.

It is used in a wide variety of mobile devices, including smartphones, tablets, smart TVs, smart watches, or cars. Android is based on the Linux kernel, upon which the rest of the operating system is built.

Its main characteristics are the following.

User interface
Android has a graphical user interface (GUI) based on the touch screen of the device.
Software compatibility
Android is compatible with a wide range of software and applications mostly available on the Google Play Store.
Ease of customization
Android is open source, which means that the source code is publicly available and developers can modify and customize it according to their needs.
Hardware support
Android is compatible with a wide variety of hardware, which means it works well with most mobile devices and their peripherals. In addition, being open source makes it easy for developers to adapt Android to any new peripheral or hardware system.
Price
Android is a free operating system, which lowers the final price of the devices that work with it.
Versions

Android is heavily controlled by the Google company, so there are few versions from other developers. The latest versions of Android are as follows:

Year Version
August 2018 Android 9
September 2019 Android 10
September 2020 Android 11
October 2021 Android 12
August 2022 Android 13
February 2023 Android 14

Operating systems GNU/Linux

GNU/Linux is a free operating system developed by a multitude of companies and volunteers and is the most popular among professional computers such as web servers and supercomputers. It is also found in a multitude of embedded devices such as game consoles, routers, smart TVs, etc. It is also found in the core of the Android operating system.

The GNU/Linux operating system is based on the old Unix operating system.

Its main characteristics are the following.

User interface

GNU/Linux has many graphical user interfaces (GUIs). Some are very simple, geared towards low memory devices (XFCE), some are similar to the Windows interface (KDE) and some are similar to the Apple GUI (Gnome).

A graphical interface that is commonly used in many embedded devices is a web page from which device parameters are controlled. It is a very fast and light interface. An example can be seen when connecting with a browser to the Internet router.

GNU/Linux can also be run without a graphical interface, by command line, which is very useful for professionals and so that the system occupies very little memory on the device.

GNU/Linux is a multiuser operating system, so a single computer can serve several terminals at the same time, with different users connected to them.

Software compatibility

The GNU/Linux system has a multitude of applications from all fields and is aimed at developers.

In some cases there is a lack of compatibility with very popular programs, which can be run with the Windows emulation program "Wine".

Ease of customization

Being an open source and community controlled operating system, it is highly customizable. There are many free distributions aimed at all kinds of fields.

Its great ease of customization and its great security against malware is what makes this operating system so attractive to install it on web servers and all kinds of professional computers.

Hardware support
Since GNU/Linux is open software, some hardware developers such as Nvidia have made it difficult to make drivers for their products. Today most devices are supported in the operating system, which is compatible with a wide variety of hardware.
Price
GNU/Linux is a free operating system, which lowers the final price of the devices that work with it.
Versions

The GNU/Linux system has many distributions aimed at all types of applications and all types of hardware platforms. These are some of the most popular distributions.

  • Ubuntu aimed primarily at home users.
  • Debian aimed at maintaining an open distribution of free software.
  • MAX aimed at education in the community of Madrid.
  • Red Hat Linux oriented to Mainframes and business environment.
  • Kali Linux oriented to pentesting and cybersecurity.
  • Embedded Linux oriented to small smart devices.

Operating system macOS

macOS is an operating system for desktop personal computers and laptops from Apple. It is the second most used system for personal computers with a 10% market share in 2020

The macOS operating system is based on the old Unix operating system as well as GNU/Linux.

Its main characteristics are the following.

User interface

It is more minimalist and elegant than the graphical interface of Windows. The menu bar is always at the top of the screen, instead of in each application window.

macOS has full gesture support on the touchpad.

Software compatibility

macOS has a smaller range of software available due to its lower market share and popularity. However, macOS remains a platform with an active developer base and a wide range of quality software available, especially for media editing and design applications.

macOS is much more resistant to malware attacks than Windows. Among other reasons, because fewer malicious programs are designed for this operating system, as it is less popular, and because it has a design that better prevents attacks.

Ease of customization
Although macOS has some customization possibilities, these are more limited compared to those offered by Windows or Linux.
Hardware support

macOS is designed to work exclusively on Apple devices, such as MacBooks, iMacs, and Mac Pros. This means that macOS is highly optimized for these devices, is more efficient and has better stability, but it is not compatible with other manufacturers.

As for peripherals, macOS has a smaller variety of compatible devices and in most cases the drivers are provided by Apple.

Price
The macOS operating system comes pre-installed for free on all Apple devices. The development of the operating system is financed with the cost of the hardware since it is an exclusive system for Apple products.
Versions

The macOS versions do not have different editions.

The latest versions of macOS are as follows:

Year Version
October 2019 macOS Catalina (version 10.15)
November 2020 macOS Big Sur (version 11)
October 2021 macOS Monterey (version 12)
October 2022 macOS Ventura (version 13)

Operating system iOS

iOS is the operating system of the company Apple for its mobile devices, including the iPhone smartphone, iPad tablet and iPod music player .

Apple currently leads sales of high-end smartphones <https://www.enriquedans.com/2023/03/analizando-el-mercado-de-los-smartphones-y-la-estrategia-de-apple.html >`__ so the iOS operating system leads the trends in the sector.

User interface
Although it is similar to the Android interface, it tends to be more uniform and consistent across all Apple devices, whereas the Android interface can vary by manufacturer.
Software compatibility

Apple's App Store tends to be stricter with the quality and control of applications. As a result, software availability is less on the iOS operating system, although most popular apps are found without issue.

On the other hand, the less diversity of hardware in Apple devices makes the applications more robust and more optimized.

iOS devices typically have much longer operating system updates, up to 6 years, compared to Android devices, which hardly have any operating system updates for a period of 2 years from device launch.

Ease of customization
The iOS system offers fewer options and less flexibility in customization than the competing Android system.
Hardware support
iOS is only compatible with Apple devices. This greatly restricts its use to a single manufacturer. As an advantage, having a more controlled hardware ecosystem makes it easier to optimize applications.
Price
iOS comes pre-installed by default on Apple mobile devices and is priceless. On the other hand, the financing of its development is done with the high price of Apple devices compared to the devices of the competition.
Versions

The latest versions of iOS are as follows:

Year Version
October 2021 iOS 14.8
April 2023 iOS 15.7
April 2023 iOS 16.4

The previous versions, currently in 2023, are not supported, so it is recommended to update them to a more modern version.

Other operating systems

z/OS

z/OS is an IBM operating system used on mainframes, large-scale computers used in large enterprises. It is one of the oldest and widely used operating systems in the business world.

z/OS is characterized by being robust, reliable, scalable, and secure. It offers a wide range of capabilities, including system resource management, batch job execution, file system and device management, security management, and the ability to run multiple applications at once.

FreeRTOS

FreeRTOS is a real-time operating system designed for embedded systems, that is, electronic devices that perform specific tasks such as washing machines, elevators, industrial control systems, IoT (Internet of Things) devices, automobile engine management, alarms, medical diagnostic equipment, etc.

FreeRTOS is characterized by its small size and low resource consumption, which makes it suitable for systems with low memory and small processing power.

It is written in the C language and can be ported to a wide variety of processor architectures, making it highly adaptable to different platforms and devices.

FreeRTOS is open source, its source code is publicly available and can be modified and distributed under a free software license. This provides flexibility and allows developers to customize and tailor the operating system for the specific needs of their applications.