The purpose of an operating system is to organize and control hardware and software so that the device it lives in behaves in a flexible but predictable way. An operating system can serve a variety of purposes, interact with users in more complicated ways, and keep up with the changing technological needs of the masses. The most common operating systems being used on the Internet today are Microsoft Windows, Mac OS X, and Linux. These operating systems are usually referred to as single user, multi-tasking systems.
Microsoft Windows was first introduced in November of 1985 as Windows 1.0. Windows has come a long way since then. Windows currently has 91% of the market share as the operating system being used on the Internet. The most recent version of Microsoft Windows is Windows 7. The most recent server version is Windows Server 2008 R2. Windows uses a graphical user interface and has evolved into the top operating system offering multi-touch user faces, home networking systems, performance improvements, touch and handwriting recognition, virtual hard disk support, and improved boot performance.
Mac Os X is a Unix-based graphical operating system developed and marketed by Apple, Inc. Mac Os has had ten different versions and has been Apple’s primary operating system since 1984. Mac OS X has an AQUA GUI that has significantly improved the appearance and design of the operating system. It also boasts Expose, an application which includes features to help accessibility between windows and desktops. Automator is an application designed to create an automatic workflow for different tasks. The development of Mac OS X has increased performance, efficiency, and stability of Macintosh computers that run this operating system. It now enables users to free up more disk space with clean install, create faster backups, and take advantage of faster browsing. Linux is free and open source software. This operating system is created by the people for the people. All of the underlying source code for the Linux operating system can be used, freely modified, and redistributed, both commercially and non-commercially by anyone. Linux is a Unix-based operating system that was conceived and implemented in 1969, but it was not composed entirely of free software until 1983. It is the most popular operating system that is not only a free software product, but is also produced independently for a collaborative goal. It’s popularity comes from the fact that it can be adapted for the specific needs of the user.
Microsoft Windows, Mac OS X, and Linux may be the most popular operating systems used to access the Internet at the moment, but there are many more out there. The fast pace of technological advancement makes the operating system rat race quite competitive. These three operating systems have survived at the top of the list because they have adapted and evolved with the quick changes that have been demanded. They will have to keep up the pace of evolutionary advancement or get left in the dust.
Coustan, C. F. (n.d.). How Operating Systems Work. Retrieved October 15, 2010, from howstuffworks: http://computer.howstuffworks.com/operating-system.htm
Linux. (n.d.). Retrieved October 15, 2010, from http://www.linux.org
Mac Os X. (n.d.). Retrieved October 15, 2010, from Apple: http://www.apple.com/macosx/
Microsoft Windows. (n.d.). Retrieved October 15, 2010, from Microsoft: http://www.microsoft.com/windows