What are the various types of software operating systems? That is the main question that this article seeks to answer. Therefore, in order to do so, let’s start with the basic: what is an operating system?
An operating system is a special kind of software that is designed to make different pieces of hardware to communicate with each other, while it also allows the communication between hardware and other application programs. In simple words, it is the intermediary between hardware and hardware, and between hardware and software. Several types of software operating systems are available in the market, and they are mostly used in personal computers (whether desktop or laptop), game consoles, mobile phones, and web servers.
The several types of operating systems can be classified in terms of the kinds of functions they can perform. For example, a GUI operating system includes both graphics and icons on its interface, and it is essentially the kind of operating system where navigation takes place through the use of a mouse. A multi-user OS (Operating System) is one that allows multiple users to use one computer either at different times or even simultaneously. A multi-processing OS is one that is able to perform its function by utilizing many computer processors. Moreover, operating systems that allow multiple processes and multiple programs to run at the same time are called multitasking, while multithreading operating systems are capable of running different programs concurrently. Unfortunately, distinguishing between different types of software operating systems using this classification is practically useless, since nowadays the popular operating systems fall pretty much under all of the above mentioned categories.
So, if you are to understand contemporary operating systems, there are basically three types of software operating systems that you need to know about: Windows, Linux , and Mac OS. Windows is a product of Microsoft Corporation and it was introduced to the market in 1985. It became widely known for the user-friendly graphical interface that it employed, and today it has basically dominated the domain of client based operating systems, since more than 90 percent of personal computer are equipped with Windows. Linux, on the other hand, is an OS that was originally designed to work as software for servers. It is mostly known for the fact that it is available for free. This parameter makes Linux invaluable to the open source software community, since it is an OS that can be used and modified by any user, and then be freely redistributed without any license restrictions. As for the last of the three types of software operating systems. Mac OS is an operating system that came to the market a year earlier from Windows, in 1984. Mac OS is also an operating software with a graphical interface, it is one that is specifically designed to work only on Macintosh computer systems manufactured by Apple. It has the advantage that it allows different computer and multimedia devices to interact with each other, but it also has a drawback: the fact that it is not compatible with devices using another operating systems, as well as many software applications.