Types of Operating Software

By John Landers

There are many different types of operating software. Often called operating systems, they are comprised of a SET of applications that regulate the connections between hardware, such as mouse, keyboard, hard drive and monitor, and software applications. The programs may include spreadsheets, word processors, email clients and web browsers. The system software is a compilation of files and programs. Programs may include debuggers, compilers, assemblers, system utilities and file management tools programs. The software files consist of system services, library of functions, system preferences, configuration files and hardware drivers.


The complexity of operating system applications requires programs to be designed in sections. Every component must not only be especially crafted for each section of the application, but should also require very specific inputs. Although the various types of operating software vary in their functions, when it comes to certain features, they are very similar. Some similarities include the following characteristics: multitasking, multi-processing and multiple users. Microsoft Windows is the most common type of operating software for personal computers. Linux is an OS that is gaining more popularity; over the next few years it is expected to replace Windows as the operating system of choice on up to 20 percent of computers. For Mac users, MAC OS is the primary choice that is available. Another well-known option in the field of operating software is UNIX.


In 1985, Microsoft Corporation introduced the first in a family of operating systems. The systems include user-friendly graphical interfaces. Currently, Windows dominates the global market for client-based operating systems, with more than a 90 percent share of the personal computer segment. The current version of the client software is Windows Vista. Windows Server 2008 is the most current release of operating system software for servers.


Linux's reputation among the types of operating software was built as a system for servers. It is well known because it is free and is very popular in the open source software community. The source code can be used by anyone, altered and can also be redistributed under free software license agreements.


MAC OS was originally designed in 1984. It is a graphical interface operating system and is installed on all Macintosh computer systems that are sold by Apple, Inc. The system allows users to manipulate and interact with computers and multimedia devices like game consoles, MP3 players and mobile phones. Although MAC computers and operating systems are widely popular with MAC devotees, the system is not compatible with as many software applications and devices as the Windows operating system.


The UNIX operating system was originally designed in 1969 by AT&T employees. The operating software is commonly used in personal computers as well as servers. The UNIX client-server design played a key role in shaping the World Wide Web. It is also an important element in creating computer networks. The UNIX technology has been parceled out to various nonprofit organizations and commercial entities.

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