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Learn how operating systems work

Operating Systems are a major part of our lives. Mobile phones, computers and the cloud — which serves as a backbone of the entire internet — utilize them every single day. However Operating Systems are not limited to these complex machines, for example MiniOS which is developed for Arduino. This post aims to provide a better understanding of how Operating Systems are developed in a very simplistic manner. Furthermore how various components work together to make a computer do things that we expect from it. Developing a fully fledged Operating Systems from scratch is a lot of work and a huge commitment.

We will be diving into the details of components such as Bootloaders, Kernels and Drivers which play a key role to make use of the hardware. These low level programs, bunched together, working in harmony is what enables us to use our computers and other devices every day

An operating system is usually described as a piece of software which enables users to interact with a hunk of metal.

Traditionally one would say it is essentially a program which runs other programs. So that makes it the first program. In other words, everything you do on your computer is totally dependent on the Operating System, directly or indirectly. A few key components of an Operating System are :

  • the Kernel
  • the Bootloader
  • the Drivers

These three components and many others work together to create an abstracted layer for the user by which they can interact with the machine easily. Essentially these programs are the ones who interact with the bare metal. Example when you press a key on your keyboard, the computer knows which key was pressed and does the job accordingly. Your monitor displays certain stuff depending on the given input so on and so forth. It also interacts with your RAM, CPU and other components in different ways.

Overview of an operating system

If you wish to know more about the individual components, checkout my paper linked below which explains those components in detail.
It's relatively easy to understand, I promise :p

Research paper : In depth explanation here

If you want to see how things are implemented in code look no further. It's also a tutorial :D

Simple implementation of an operating system

Top comments (4)

shadowphoenix profile image

Thank you so much for providing the paper! I've been wanting to develop my own OS for some time now, but I still have a lot to learn before I even dare to write the first lines of code. :D

sakshatshinde profile image
Sakshat • Edited

No problem! Glad it helped you out, I will add a small edit with a github repo which can shed some light on how to actually implement this in code.

hamzaaleed profile image
Hamza Herbawi

Thank you, Windows NT is a MicroKernel or Hybrid kernel?

sakshatshinde profile image

Windows NT is Hybrid