What is an operating system (OS)?

By Jason Scott -
      Flickr: IMG_9976, CC BY 2.0,
      https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=29457452In the simplest definition, an operating system (OS) is a set of instructions (software) that controls a machine (hardware) providing an interface for the user. These instructions are layered over the kernel accessing the hardware directly and the command line interface (CLI) or graphical user interface (GUI) for the user (normally a human being) to interact with it. These instructions are coded using in different languages from low-level (like machine language and assembler) to high-level (like C and C++).

Operating systems have evolved from their early days and surprisingly most modern operating systems were made a good time ago like MVS in 1964, Unix in 1969, BSD in 1977, DOS in 1980, Macintosh (now referred to as macOS) in 1984, Windows in 1985 and Linux in 1991.

In the past several years, a different approach to operating systems and resource management use thin-clients (commonly referred to as dumb terminals) accessing all shared resources from a server through a web interface (a fully functional HTML5/CSS3/JS web browser) as a virtual OS online.

At the same time, computers (microcomputers) have shrunk from huge machines that would fit in a loft (like an IBM System/360 mainframe) to machines that fit in your pocket like any of today's mobile phones. Computers are used worldwide for various purposes from web browsing to going to outer space (NASA).

This site takes a high level look at various operating systems used worldwide. It is merely my opinion, the result of my curiosity of computer systems and programming. As such, the sole purpose of VintageOS is to document my experiences of rebuilding old computer systems and their operating systems and to have fun while doing the latter.

If you are interested in experimenting with any operating system covered in VintageOS, you can create a VDI with VirtualBox (free) or similar application.

Web Literacy Skill
      Sharer, Issued by Webmaker, Nov 17, 2014On 11/17/2014, VintageOS received the Web Literacy Skill Sharer badge from Webmaker, part of the Mozilla Foundation.

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