Q:

What are the characteristics of an operating system?

A:

The defining characteristic of operating systems is the connection it provides between the hardware, the software and, in some cases, the user interface. Computers require an operating system in order to be used.

All modern computers require some software to control, and the operating system is the most basic software available. While operating systems used on small devices may be relatively small and simple, popular operating systems like Windows, OSX and Linux provide drivers for a wide range of devices and a user interface.

The core part of an operating system is its kernel. Today, monolithic kernels are the most popular. These kernels provide a way for different computer processes to send messages to each other, and they manage the RAM that stores program information. Most kernels also provide device drivers to control monitors, input devices, disk drives and other peripherals.

In the past, software could only target a specific operating system, and programs had to be adjusted and compiled to run on different platforms. However, modern programs are designed to run on a range of supported platforms. Java is largely crediting as starting this trend, but Python, Ruby and other high-level programming platforms make it simple to port programs to new systems.


Is this answer helpful?

Similar Questions

  • Q:

    What are the functions of an operating system?

    A:

    An operating system provides the connection between a computer's fundamental hardware, peripheral devices and users. It also creates a consistent development platform for programmers. Computers of all sizes, from cell phones to supercomputers, need operating systems to function.

    Full Answer >
    Filed Under:
  • Q:

    Why does a computer need an operating system?

    A:

    An operating system is the most essential program that allows a computer to run and execute programs. Without an operating system, a computer cannot be of any important use since the computer's hardware won't be able to communicate with the software.

    Full Answer >
    Filed Under:
  • Q:

    What is the classification of an operating system?

    A:

    The classification of an operating system is a grouping that differentiates or identifies the operating system based on how it works, the type of hardware it controls and the applications it supports. The basic function of an operating system is to make the hardware usable and enable user applications to run as they are designed to.

    Full Answer >
    Filed Under:
  • Q:

    What are some examples of a stand-alone operating system?

    A:

    Examples of stand-alone operating systems include Windows, OS X, Linux, iOS and Android. Stand-alone operating systems are complete operating systems that run on personal computers and on mobile devices such as tablet computers and smartphones.

    Full Answer >
    Filed Under:

Explore