As and the computer hardware”. It is important

As we learned in class
from Dr. Ying Liu, there is no universally accepted definition for what an
operating system is. According to Dr. Paul Mullins from Slippery Rock
University, “An operating system (OS) is a software, that manages computer
hardware resources, runs other programs, and provides common services for the
user and application software” (“5.2 Software”). This goes hand in had with
what Dr. Liu taught in class with his PowerPoint lectures stating that an
operating system is “A program that acts as an intermediary between a user of a computer
and the computer hardware”.

It is important to
comprehend that the operating system is one of the most important aspects of a
computer. They can be found on any devices with a computer, cell phones, video
game consoles, servers, and etcetera (Agarwal, 2017, p.60). Now we may find
ourselves asking the question, “Why do operating systems exist? What is their
purpose?” Easily put, the goals of an operating system are to “Execute user programs and
make solving user problems easier, Make the computer system convenient to use,
and to ensure that computer hardware is being used efficiently” (Silberschatz,
Galvin, Gagne, 2010, p.3). 

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The operating system is
one of the four components that make up a computer system. It controls and
coordinates the use of hardware among applications and users; it is for these
reasons that it can be seen as a resource allocator and a control program (Silberschatz,
Galvin, Gagne, 2010, p.5). Silberschatz, Galvin, and Gagne’s Operating System Concepts with Java,
tells readers that the operating system as a resource allocator decides between
conflicting requests and manages all resources to ensure fair and efficient
use. The text also states that as a control program the operating system is in
charge of executing programs in order to avoid errors and computer misuse.

Though operating systems may have similar uses, some may work differently.

Some of the worlds most popular and modern OS’s-OS is just a
shorter way of saying operating system in the technology industry- include, but
are not limited to, Windows, Mac OS, and Linux. For many years now, these three
operating systems have been the most popular and most debated. As we all know,
everything has advantages and disadvantages and that’s what people compare them
on. The main talking points for determining the most efficient-or the
best-operating system include system features, stability, risk, price,
availability, and diversity. The next question, therefore, is which one is the
best?

Without a doubt the most popular operating system is Windows.

Microsoft Corporation developed Windows in 1985 to run on personal computers. According
to Encyclopedia Britannica, Windows-which is commonly referred to as the “PC”-featured
the first graphical user interface (GUI). GlobalStats’s StatCounter claims that
Windows currently holds 82.96% of the operating system market share-this makes
it number one in its category with a substantial lead.

Windows is highly recognized for its amazing
features, high adaptability, economical, and stable characteristics. Though
debatable, Windows is probably the most user-friendly operating system today.

Aside from being easy to use, it has the largest hardware support, and the
largest amount of software available for it. But, as previously mentioned all
positives have negative, and so does Windows. Windows can sometimes be a
nuisance; with being the most popular, you are also the most popular with
problems that arise. As a Windows owner/user, one has to ensure that the
computer is secure and do maintenance on it. Windows is the operating system
that is most prone to malware, spyware, viruses, and etcetera. Anther one of
the negative aspects of Windows is that users may sometimes find that it is
slow or it lags. This is because the software itself is “heavy” and requires a
lot of memory, processor, and disk space. In order to speed up the systems,
those resources have to be upgraded and that involves money, which makes the
overall operating system expensive. However, users work around these negative
aspects and focus more on the positives because it is a highly effective
operating system (“Windows vs. Mac OS X vs. Linux: The Operating System
Battle”, Ukshini).

After Windows, the operating system with the most
market share is Mac OS-approximately 12.98% according to StatCounter. The Mac
OS, a Unix based operating system, was developed to run on Macintosh computers
by the owners-Apple Incorporated. The Mac OS derived from Steve Jobs’
technological developments, and is described by Apple Incorporated’s developers
as: “a modern operating system that
combines the power and stability of UNIX-based operating systems with the
simplicity and elegance of the Macintosh. For years, power users and developers
have recognized the strengths of UNIX and its offshoots. While UNIX-based
operating systems are indispensable to developers and power users, consumers
have rarely been able to enjoy their benefits because of the perceived
complexity. Instead consumers have lived with a generation of desktop computers
that could only hope to achieve the strengths that UNIX-based operating systems
have had from the beginning” (“Porting UNIX/Linux Applications to OS X”, 2012).

Apple developers
claim that a computer running Mac OS and do everything and even more than any
other desktop computer. Well, the market seems to disagree-or maybe it is only
because of the high price point that Apple Inc. has on Macintosh computers. Unlike
Windows, Mac OS has limited hardware support, which means that it can only be
run-legally-on Apple devices. This is a disadvantage that has advantages within
it; because of this disadvantage, Apple computers are less prone to viruses and
malware because it is built entirely different than Windows (“Windows vs. Mac OS X vs. Linux: The Operating System Battle”, Ukshini). Also if less people are able to get
their hands on these, hackers are less prone to want to attack them as “there
not enough ‘food’ there.”  But besides
being an exclusive, pricy, and one of the least risky operating systems, the
Mac OS is also very stable as it requires less processing power making it fast
and efficient when working with software application that is developed for it.

The third most
popular operating system is Linux. Linux is a “Unix-like” operating system that
was created by in 1991 by Linus Torvalds. The inspiration for making a free
operating system, according to Glyn Moody- one of the policy editors for Ars
Technica, “who has been writing about the Internet, free software, copyright,
patents and digital rights for over 20 years”- came from Torvalds inability to
afford a computer. Torvalds goal was to make a completely free operating system
that would meet the wanted user requirements. Although Linus Torvalds created
Linux, it is an open-source system that is backed by various free contributions
made by developers.

Although Linux
is referred to as an operating system, it is important to comprehend that it is
a kernel. A kernel is “The one program running at all
times on the computer…provides things such
as network communication, file access, and process management. The kernel is
there to make accessing hardware easier to the user (and in some cases
protecting the hardware from the user” (Silberschatz, Galvin, Gagne,
2010, p.6).

Thus, in essence, the kernel is one of the components of an operating system.

This being said, Linux only becomes a full operating system once we enhance it
with one of the contributions that have been made by developers that are known
as “distributions” or “distros”. Linux has many distributions such as Arch,
Ubuntu, Tails, and the list goes on. This being said, Linux is similar to the
Mac OS in the sense that it doesn’t have a wide variety of software
applications or hardware support, they have to be made to be specifically
compatible with it. Similarly, Linux is prone to less vulnerabilities, which is
always a good thing. However, Linux only hold 1.62% of the market share and
this is due to the fact that it is one of the most complicated operating systems
and requires much knowledge of using systems and tampering with them. These
systems are not typically sold, but, instead, are built by those who have a
deep interest in computers, or developers.

Without
a doubt, Windows, Mac OS, and Linux are among the most popular operating
systems today. They all have similar functionalities, but implement in
different ways. Depending on where you go, you might see different systems
being used or implemented. The important factors to consider when looking at them
are price, hardware support, software availability, vulnerabilities or risks, and
stability. As previously stated, the least risky would be Mac OS and Linux,
however they do not have as much hardware or software compatibility as Windows.

Yet, Windows is a very effective operating system but it can sometimes be slow
and upgrading its components can get costly-but Mac OS will still be
significantly more expensive. On the other hand, Linux is free but it may not
do all the work that one needs to get done. At the end of the day, different people
have different needs and it is a good thing that there are options from which
to choose from-all which come with their own set of tradeoffs.