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Text A. OPERATING SYSTEMS

 

The OS (operating system) is the set of computer programs that allow the user to perform basic tasks like copying, moving, saving and printing files. It also provides an interface between (i.e. provides communication between) applications programs (e.g. wordprocessors or spreadsheets) and the computer hardware. As a user interacts with an applications program on the screen, the applications program communicates with the operating system and the operating system communicates with the computer hardware. The work of the operating system takes place in the background and is not always obvious to the user.

The most important program in an OS is the supervisor program. It remains in memory all the time that the computer is operating, and manages the OS. It loads other parts of the OS into memory when they are needed. Programs that remain in memory while the computer is in use are known as resident programs. Programs that only stay in memory while they are being used are known as non-­resident programs.

Some operating systems are command driven (i.e. the user runs a program by typing a command). The screen is usually blank except for a symbol (e.g. $) which acts as a command prompt. When the command is typed at the prompt and the Enter key is pressed, the command is processed and the output is displayed on the screen. OS commands are usually short words or abbreviations (e.g., date, logout, passwd, Is).

Unix is a command driven operating system used on all sizes of computers, but mostly large multi-user, multi-tasking mainframe computers. It is available in many versions, such as Linux, Minix, HP-UX, Xenix, Venix, Ultrix, A/UX, AIX, Solaris, and PowerOpen. Other command driven operating systems mentioned in this unit include: VAX/VMS, MVS VM OS/390, NetWare, MS-DOS and PC-DOS.

Some operating systems have a GUI (pronounced like 'goo-ey' - graphical user interface) that allows the user to use a mouse to click on icons on the screen or choose commands from a list of choices known as a menu. Operating systems with graphical interfaces mentioned in this unit include: MacOS, OS/2, Penpoint, Windows NT, Windows 3.x, Windows 9X and Windows 2000.


Date: 2015-01-02; view: 991


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