The operating system is a basic software package, required to operate the computer, that forms the interface between the computer and the user and between the computer and the applications used. Without an operating system, the computer is virtually unusable – as such, to use the computer, the operating system must be started first. The start it is usually done automatically by the computer.
The main purpose operating systems is to facilitate the use of computers and ensuring efficient use of its resources.
The operating system has several roles:
- provides an interface between user and computer and between different applications and computers;
- coordinate the programs used;
- manages the allocation of resources between different computer applications.
The main operating systems used today are:
- Windows (OS family: Windows 9x, Windows CE and Windows NT)
- Linux (popular Linux distributions: Debian and its derivatives such as Ubuntu and Linux Mint, Fedora, Red Hat Enterprise Linux, CentOS, Mandriva/Mageia, openSUSEand its commercial derivative SUSE Linux Enterprise Server, and Arch Linux. )
- OS X – Apple Computer (OS family: Mac OS)
- Unix – used mostly for servers and computer networks