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Operating System Concepts: What is an OS (Definition)

Video Transcript:
Now this is the starting point for anyone who needs to study operating systems. This is the most basic question that will come to your mind.
So let's deal with this question first. In this video, we will discuss two topics to understand what is an operating system.

First, we will have a look at the definition of an operating system and We will try to understand the meaning of operating system.

And in the second topic, we will see where exactly an operating system fits in a computer system. This will help us understand the role played by an operating system in the functioning of a computer.

so let's start.

Whenever you switch on your laptop, desktop, tablet or even a mobile phone, you might have observed that it takes some time to load your home screen. Here, Your device is starting a software in the background, and this software will help you control your computer or mobile device and lets you run other applications on top of it. This software will be running as long as your device is running and stops when your device shuts down.

If you are even remotely a Tech savvy person, you will know what this software is. It is an operating system.

To define it formally, An operating system is an important piece of program that manages the computer hardware and other software applications. Using an operating system you can utilize the hardware components like CPU, memory, Input and output devices like keyboard, mouse etc.

So therefore, an operating system also acts as an intermediate between the computer hardware and you, the computer user.

You can say It acts as a middle man. This is because, The user cannot give commands directly to the CPU in machine language, nor can the CPU interact with the user directly. So there needs to be a middle man which communicates and translates all interactions between the user and the CPU.

Now let’s see where exactly the operating system fits in the overall computer system structure.

A computer can be divided into four components. At the core we have the hardware, which comprises of CPU, memory and other I/O devices.

On top of this, there is an operating system, which controls and co ordinates the use of hardware by various applications.

Application programs are the software tools or utilities which the users run to carry out their tasks. These programs can utilize the hardware resources through the help of operating systems.

Some examples of application programs are the word processors, spread sheets, compilers and even the browser you have opened right now to watch this course.

And finally on the other end, we have the real computer users, who interact with computer in order to get some tasks performed.

So based on this figure, you can see that the operating system occupies a crucial spot in the architecture of a Computer System. And without operating systems, it would be very difficult to utilize a computer effectively.

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