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Computing (FOLDOC) dictionary (also found in English - English (Wordnet), )
operating system
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operating system (OS) The low-level software which handles
the interface to peripheral hardware, schedules tasks,
allocates storage, and presents a default interface to the
user when no application program is running.
The OS may be split into a kernel which is always present
and various system programs which use facilities provided by
the kernel to perform higher-level house-keeping tasks,
often acting as servers in a client-server relationship.
Some would include a graphical user interface and windowsystem as part of the OS, others would not. The operatingsystem loader, BIOS, or other firmware required at boottime or when installing the operating system would generally
not be considered part of the operating system, though this
distinction is unclear in the case of a rommable operatingsystem such as RISC OS.
The facilities an operating system provides and its general
design philosophy exert an extremely strong influence on
programming style and on the technical cultures that grow up
around the machines on which it runs.
Example operating systems include 386BSD, AIX, AOS,