DEV Community

Cover image for What is an Operating System?

What is an Operating System?

Software Engineer | Linux fan | lawyer | Sharing what I'm learning ๐Ÿ˜Š
ใƒปUpdated on ใƒป1 min read

What exactly is an Operating System(OS) and what does it do? An OS is a Software layer between the Hardware and all your other applications. The main task of the OS is to manage the execution of all the other applications, it decides when and for how long the apps get access to the Hardware.

This includes access to the CPU (central processing unit, your PC`s โ€œbrainโ€), the I/O (Input/Output) devices (like a printer for example) and to memory. Like this the OS helps that the Hardware is used efficiently. An example could be that you can continue writing something while your printer is printing.

Because there are always a lot of app processes running at the same time, the OS needs to coordinate all of them so that the user gets the experience he wants and doesnโ€™ t need to wait for ages until some process has finished.

Concerning the implementation of this process โ€œjugglingโ€ you can think of a lot of different queues, which hold processes, which want to be executed. A lot of times a process gets interrupted and needs to be stored somewhere else to be continued later. The OS then saves status info about the interrupted process so it can be easily continued later.

What interesting things do you know about Operating Systems?

Discussion (0)