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What Is Operating System Design?

Operating systems control many different parts of modern electronics.
Article Details
  • Written By: M. McGee
  • Edited By: Lauren Fritsky
  • Last Modified Date: 16 November 2014
  • Copyright Protected:
    2003-2014
    Conjecture Corporation
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Operating system design is the creation of an operating system for a specific purpose and use. Operating systems control many different parts of modern electronics. Each of these systems was specifically designed to control the system on which it was installed. The most widely known operating systems are used on computers, but many other systems use operating programs as well. There are several different types of operating system design, each with its own functions and characteristics.

An operating system is the program used to control the functions of a piece of electronics. Each operating system works with a specific type of hardware; uses on other hardware are generally impossible or highly unstable. This specificity requires designers to constantly update or modify their systems, resulting in a web of interconnected software.

There are three main types of operating systems. Each of the categories has specific functions and operating spheres; they are not interchangeable, and one is not better or worse than any other. Each class of operating system design contains many different programs.

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The most well-known operating system design is in computers and is called a full-featured system. These systems are generally quite large and operate a general purpose computer. These operating systems have a lot of different functions they can use. They have several ways of interacting with users, platforms for writing any sort of software and functions that can be customized as the owner wishes. This type of system, due to its size and complexity, generally operates on the most types of hardware.

The second operating system design is the small operating system. These systems run interactive devices such as smartphones, media players and other advanced types of technology. These systems may be based on a full-featured system or may be unique to this layer of design. A small operating system generally takes up very little space and can operate a very specific piece of hardware. Programmers may generally create applications for these systems, but the tool set is much more limited than with a full-featured system.

The last type of operating system design is the most common. These operating systems are embedded into everyday objects such as car electronics, digital video disc (DVD) players and children’s toys. These operating systems have a single purpose—programmers cannot make new applications for these systems, and any updates to the system come directly from the manufacturer. Even though they are so simple, they operate millions of different products and are common in modern homes.

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