What is An Operating System?

An Operating System is what controls your computer’s hardware and software. It is responsible for the overall operation of your computer system and components and their interconnectivity. In other words, through the OS is how you talk to your computer and tell it what you want it to do. Without it your computer would just be a bunch or hardware and components connected together sitting in an enclosure. Microsoft Windows leads the OS industry because of it’s user-friendly GUI (Graphical User Interface) among many other reasons. Windows XP is probably the most popular in use right now. XP earned it’s popularity because of its increased stability over the previous Windows versions. It’s also very user-friendly, and very easy to maneuver. Microsoft likes to give different flavors of their OS’s such as Windows XP Professional, Media Center Edition, or the even newer Vista Home Edition, Home Premium and Ultimate. The different flavors are meant to aim at different audiences. The Home editions are for the general computer user who prepares essays, surfs the web, burns some cd’s here and there, and don’t really care about the super visual effects that Ultimate can give them.

Apple is Microsoft’s biggest competitor with their line of Mac operating systems which come loaded on their iMacs and MacBooks. Their are also open source (meaning freely distributed code) Operating Systems such as Linux which is based on the Unix platform. Linux comes in a variety of different flavors because anyone can take the code, have fun with it, and develop their on distribution of Linux. Distributions of Linux include Red Hat, Knoppix, SuSe, MandrakeSoft, and many more.