Linking Hardware and Software: A Look at Operating Systems

November 30, 2023 0 Comments

The Different Types of Operating Systems

The operating system is the link between hardware and software, enabling applications to access and use the hardware environment. This link is crucial for the functionality of any application.

OS architectures are diverse and include monolithic, multi-processing, and distributed systems. Modern CPUs operate in two modes: protected mode and supervisor mode. Supervisor mode is used by the kernel for tasks that require unrestricted access to hardware, while protected mode is used by applications.


POSIX (Portable Operating System Interface for UNIX) provides common interfaces that help software developers write applications that are portable across systems. It also defines a set of fundamental services that make applications more efficient, such as the ability to read from and write to files. It is a family of standards that includes IEEE 1003.1-2008 and ISO/IEC 9945-1:2009.

GNU features have made their way into POSIX and have helped to shape the POSIX standard as it evolved. Giacomo Catenazzi notes that POSIX’s definition of diff and patch borrows from GNU’s versions of those commands.

While POSIX is not universal, many UNIX-like systems support it, including Linux and Apple OS X (since 10.5 Leopard). The majority of graphical interfaces, database interfaces, object/binary code portability, and system configurations are outside the scope of POSIX. It is important to note that the POSIX specifications are not the same as the Linux kernel APIs, which are a different specification.


UNIX was developed at AT&T Bell Labs in the 1970s and has become one of the most widely used operating systems in the world. It is highly stable and secure, and it can be run on computers of any size from desktops to supercomputers. UNIX is also well-suited for networking, and it has contributed to the reshaping of computing as a network-centric industry.

The kernel of a UNIX system is a memory-resident control program that manages the machine’s resources and presents them to user applications as a coherent system. It also hides the details of the machine architecture from the user. This allows a single version of the system to run on a variety of hardware without modification, which is a significant cost savings.

The UNIX system features a multitasking system that permits multiple users to share computer resources simultaneously. Its time-sharing mechanism divides the CPU’s time into small segments, known as “time slices,” for each user. Each time slice lasts for a period of time that is predetermined by the system.


Microsoft Windows is the most widely used graphical operating system in the world. It is available for mainstream personal computers and tablets (as of SS market share data), as well as a variety of other devices such as e-readers and mobile phones. It supports a large number of user interface languages, making it the most versatile OS for consumer applications. It also features a software virtual memory scheme that allows applications to be larger than the physical memory of the machine: code and data segments would move in and out of memory as processor control switched between applications.

Windows was designed at a time when malware and network attacks were less common, so it did not include many of the standard security features that are now included in modern p operating systems. It does not have file protection to prevent unauthorized access to files or memory protection to prevent one application from reading or writing memory occupied by a different application.


Linux is a general-purpose operating system that can run on a wide range of hardware. It is commonly used on servers, mainframe computers and supercomputers, but it can also be found in other machines like routers, digital video recorders, TVs, smartphones and smartwatches.

Aside from its kernel, Linux has a wide array of software packages that allow users to customize the system to meet their needs. It also includes a number of popular software development tools, including git for distributed source control; vim and emacs for text editing; and compilers and interpreters for various programming languages.

Linux has a robust command line interface, making it ideal for users who need to perform advanced operations quickly and efficiently. It also allows multiple users to use the system simultaneously and supports different levels of access. Moreover, it is free to download and install, which makes it an excellent choice for people with limited resources. Its large community provides assistance through forums, email lists and other online tools.

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Blending Eastern and Western influences: Opera in Japan during the Meiji Restoration

November 18, 2023 0 Comments

Opera in Japan

During the time of Meiji Restoration when Japan opened up to foreign trade, culture and ideas opera gained a foothold. Traveling opera companies brought performances like Madama Butterfly featuring Geraldine Farrar, Enrico Caruso and Antonio Scotti to Japanese audiences.

While it is true that the art form is looked upon as western import, it cannot be denied that the music has been kept alive by a number of works which have substantial merit and worth.


Opera is a genre of music that blends the elements of drama and acting. Its popularity exploded during the Romantic era (1830-1900) when grand operas got bigger, louder and longer with more elaborate ornamentation bolstered by simpler harmonic structures.

Travelling western opera companies began visiting Japan in the early days of the Meiji Restoration when Japan opened up to outside influence, culture and ideas. One amateur group from Yokohama staged a production of Arthur Sullivan’s operetta Cox and Box just four years after its London premier.

Puccini spied the operatic potential in David Belasco’s one-act play Madame Butterfly based on John Luther Long’s 1898 short story and worked with libretto writers Luigi Illica and Giuseppe Giacosa to produce an Italian version of the work which premiered in Milan in 1904. The opera was to become an emblem of the dark clouds of US-Japanese relations just a year before Pearl Harbor.


In addition to the renowned Bunka-Keikan and NHK Hall, Tokyo also has many theaters which stage opera, and it is possible to see productions by visiting companies from Europe and North America. Nevertheless, many directors do not try to bring traditional Japanese cultural elements into their opera adaptations. Rather, they prioritize the creation of an aesthetically coherent whole.

Nonetheless, there are some examples of opera borrowings and adaptations within the Takarazuka Revue. For example, the Kimura-Kai team’s productions Freedom: Mister Carmen and Fumetsu no toge, based on Vec Makropulos, reversed the gender roles of the original opera. This was intended to create a character that appealed to the female audience and to showcase otokoyaku sex appeal.

Despite this, much research remains to be done on the links between the Takarazuka Revue and opera. This includes the impact of gender roles and singing styles on the Revue, as well as the extent to which the Revue borrows or adapts opera music.


During the 1950s a second wave of opera adaptations emerged from Takarazuka Revue musicals. These were usually based on the plots of western operas but with a new twist. The top otokoyaku would play the heroine, rather than the male lead as is traditional in the west. The Takarazuka team created such musicals as Turandot: Hououden no bouken (1952), Gekijou: Jose to Carmen (1951) and the 1956 Kismet: Unmei.

The music for these operas was composed by Yamada Kosaku who had been a pupil of Bruch and Wolf in Berlin. He infused the melodic style of German Romanticism with Japanese inflections. This laid down the foundation for modern Japanese opera. It also paved the way for a more realistic approach to the melodrama of kabuki and sanken opera. Today Tokyo has many venues where opera is performed, although there is no resident company. It is a form which thrives as Japan continues to open up more fully to western influence, ideas and music.


When Japan opened its doors to western technology during the Meiji Period, it also welcomed foreign arts. One of these was opera which became a popular form of entertainment. The Japanese studied, imitated and eventually produced their own classical genre of opera.

The result is a hybrid of eastern and western ideas and themes. Though many have criticized this as merely a form of imitation, it can be viewed as the evolution of an art into something uniquely its own.

This season at Japan Society we present the North American Premiere of Catapult Opera’s reimagining of Yukio Mishima’s modern noh play Hanjo (September 14) and NYC-based director NJ Agwuna’s gender-swapped drama I’m Trying to Understand You, But…(October 28 – 30). Plus 2022 marks the world premiere of a new opera commissioned by Japan Society, note to a friend(January 12 – 15), composed by Pulitzer Prize-winning composer David Lang who reimagined texts from esteemed writer Ryunosuke Akutagawa whose short stories are famous for their eloquent exploration of human relationships and death.

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