Operating Systems (OS)

The operating system (OS) is the basic set of software used on a computer, but it is not required for the computer to run. Most users have an OS installed on their machines because it manages the various hardware components for the machine. From a computer science/electrical engineer/computer engineer viewpoint, the OS makes new software and hardware development easier through the Application Programming Interface (API).

OS Components:

  • user interface
  • libraries – collections of common routines
  • kernel
  • device drivers

Common OS:

There are many different operating systems. Some of the more popular are:

  • Windows
  • Mac OS X (renamed to macOS)
  • Linux (technically a kernel used by other OS)
    • Android (Linux-based mobile OS)
    • Red Hat Enterprise Linux (used at NC State)
    • Ubuntu