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The Four Major Functions of an Operating System

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Managing programs is one of the functions that are most dramatic effect to the operating systems overall quality. There are many different systems that are used for managing programs. You have single tasking, in which you can run only one program application at a time. Multi-tasking in which in the normal operating system allows a single user to work with more than one program at a time.

Managing memory

The second function of an operating system is managing memory. The operating system gives each individual program a certain amount of memory this is called a partition. If the memory becomes full then the operating system starts storing copies of the pages into files in the hard disk. This is called a swap file.

Input and Output

Input and output devices generate interrupts, and sends signals that inform the operating system that something has occurred. Some examples of input and output devices are monitors, modems, and sound cards.

User Interface

The quality of the user interface is what makes or breaks the system. This is the part of the operating system that interacts with the user. Sometimes it is also referred to as the shell. This is implying that the user interface is surrounding the operating system, which is referred to as the kernel. There are three different types of user interface. These are command-line, menu-driven, and graphical interface.


a) How did Linus get the attention of so many people willing to volunteer their time to create Linux?

Linus commented that in order to get people to help you, you need to have a program that is interesting, not boring. People want a challenge and if it will benefit them, they will be more than happy to help.

b) What is the most frequent complaint about Linux?

The lack of certain applications

c) Do you think Linux will ever replace Microsoft Windows as the PC operating system of choice? Why or why not?

No, because windows is such a huge development throughout the world and I don’t think people will want to switch from an application that they know so well and are comfortable with.

d) Linux is considered “freeware”, not public domain software. What is the difference?

Freeware gives users a chance to try software and continue to use it for free of charge. Public domain is where the author of the particular software grants you the rights to copy and distribute the software.

e) If you want to get a copy of Linux, where can you find it?

You can either purchase Linux on CD-ROM, diskette or tape or you can go to Linux home web site, which is nic.funet.fi.

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