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Unformatted text preview: controlled? Chapter 14 Operating Systems In the last few chapters we have dealt with the planning, coding, operation, and maintenance of software systems. In the next few chapters, we will have a look at some of the commonly used software in today's computer systems. In this chapter, you will learn about a very important and special type of software that falls under the category of system software. This system software is known as operating system. In the next chapter you will learn about some commonly used application software packages. An operating system is an important part of almost every computer system. The goal of this chapter is to introduce concepts related to operating systems and to show how this particular system software helps in the overall operation and usage of a computer system. WHAT IS AN OPERATING SYSTEM? An operating system (often referred to as OS) is an integrated set of programs that controls the resources (the CPU, memory, I/O devices, etc.) of a computer system and provides its users with an interface or virtual machine that is more convenient to use than the bare machine. According to this definition, the two primary objectives ol an operating system are as follows: 1. Making a computer system convenient to use. A computer system consists of one or more processors, main memory and many types of I/O devices such as disks, tapes, terminals, network interfaces, etc. Writing programs for using these hardware resources correctly and efficiently is an extremely difficult job, requiring in-depth knowledge of the functioning of the resources. Hence to make computer systems usable by a large number of users, it became clear several years ago that some way is required to shield programmers from the complexity of the hardware resources. The gradually evolved solution to handle this problem is to put a layer of software on top of the bare hardware, to manage all parts of the system, and present the user with an interface or virtual machine that is easier to program and use. This layer of software is the operating syste...
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