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Different Types of Operating Systems
Operating systems that create a link between users and the applications form the core of computer systems. It dissociates the programs and the hardware and simplifies resource management. Let us look at the different types of operating systems.
Real-time Operating System: It is a multitasking operating system that aims at executing real-time applications. Real-time operating systems often use specialized scheduling algorithms so that they can achieve a deterministic nature of behavior. The main object of real-time operating systems is their quick and predictable response to events. They either have an event-driven or a time-sharing design. An event-driven system switches between tasks based of their priorities while time-sharing operating systems switch tasks based on clock interrupts.
Multi-user and Single-user Operating Systems: The operating systems of this type allow a multiple users to access a computer system concurrently. Time-sharing system can be classified as multi-user systems as they enable a multiple user access to a computer through the sharing of time. Single-user operating systems, as opposed to a multi-user operating system, are usable by a single user at a time. Being able to have multiple accounts on a Windows operating system does not make it a multi-user system. Rather, only the network administrator is the real user. But for a Unix-like operating system, it is possible for two users to login at a time and this capability of the OS makes it a multi-user operating system.
Multi-tasking and Single-tasking Operating Systems: When a single program is allowed to run at a time, the system is grouped under a single-tasking system, while in case the operating system allows the execution of multiple tasks at one time, it is classified as a multi-tasking operating system. Multi-tasking can be of two types namely, pre-emptive or co-operative. In pre-emptive multitasking, the operating system slices the CPU time and dedicates one slot to each of the programs. Unix-like operating systems such as Solaris and Linux support pre-emptive multitasking. Cooperative multitasking is achieved by relying on each process to give time to the other processes in a defined manner. MS Windows prior to Windows 95 used to support cooperative multitasking.
Distributed Operating System: An operating system that manages a group of independent computers and makes them appear to be a single computer is known as a distributed operating system. The development of networked computers that could be linked and communicate with each other, gave rise to distributed computing. Distributed computations are carried out on more than one machine. When computers in a group work in cooperation, they make a distributed system.
Embedded System: The operating systems designed for being used in embedded computer systems are known as embedded operating systems. They are designed to operate on small machines like PDAs with less autonomy. They are able to operate with a limited number of resources. They are very compact and extremely efficient by design. Windows CE, FreeBSD and Minix 3 are some examples of embedded operating systems.