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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