Operating system (OS) is a system program that acts as a means of communication with the computer hardware by controlling input output devices and allowing application programs to be run under it. Hence, OS may be termed as an interface between the computer system and the user. There are many operating systems that are in common use on the Internet, but the significant ones are: Windows, UNIX, OS X and Linux. These operating systems are the dominant ones in business purpose as well as for personal computing (www. lotsofessays. com). 1. Windows OS:
The pioneer to operating environment, Windows is the family of operating systems soft wares owned by Microsoft Corporation. Windows largely satisfies general application oriented OS needs, mostly businesses. Windows offers a wide spectrum of application software which makes it a primary choice for all users. Due to the wide usage and popularity, Windows OS and related applications are more targeted to virus threats. Some of the product series under the Windows family of OS include Windows CE, Windows XP, Windows Server X, Windows Vista, Windows 7, Windows NT etc.
Multi tasking, multi processing, multi user and multi threading, cost effectiveness, friendlier and easy-to-use GUI makes Windows OS the ultimate choice for all kinds of users. 2. UNIX: Developed in 1969, UNIX was dedicatedly designed for mainframes in large business environments. A command line oriented OS that offers additional applications such as X-Window; UNIX thereby enables a GUI environment as in Windows 3. x / Windows 95 / Windows 98. Since Unix OS is an open operating system, there are large modification options available. Sun Solaris, System V, Unisys, Xenix are some of the UNIX interfaces.
The Multitasking feature of UNIX allows the user to save their time as they don’t need to wait for a task to finish starting the next one. Similarly, UNIX offers multiple users to command the computer. This includes execution and access of programs/files, printing of documents etc. A document is compartmentalized to facilitate a number of users to make changes in it so that changes made by one are not by overridden. The system portability contribution of UNIX enabled the companies to switch between different brands of computers with minute code changes. Also, the OS could be easily upgraded without any loss of data.
Since the newer versions are backward compatible. 3. Mac OS: The Operating System designed for Apple computers is Mac OS, Macintosh Operating System. Very refined and exquisite user interface offering prompt technological support gives Mac OS a competitive edge to other OS. But it didn’t gain much popularity as Windows since it is a dedicated OS for Apple computers. Also, the combo of Apple computers and Mac OS is also not very cost effective in contrast with Windows package. The different versions of Mac that are available include Mac OS (6, 7, 8, 9), Mac OS X (Cheetah, Puma, Jaguar, Panther, Tiger, Leopard, Snow Leopard).
Offering an influential platform for support of multiple development technologies like UNIX, Java, Cocoa and Carbon, Mac OS serves as host to many open source, web, scripting, and database and development technologies (Luchtman & Giouvanos. 2006) 4. Linux: Developed in 1991, Linux has developed into one of the popular operating systems in use worldwide. It is easily available around the globe due to its free source code, which also means that users can change the operating system according to their own needs.
Due to the number of changes which can be made to Linux, there are more than three hundred different versions of Linux being used around the world. A few of the more popular distributions include CentOS, Slackware and Redhat. Mostly any application software which can work on Windows can also run on Linux, with the exception of select application software. Stability, easy-to-use, cost effectiveness, versatility and resilient to many of the security threats makes Linux Operating System the fit choice for savvy internet users. (www.
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